Volume 11, no. 1
Minority Report: Diversity Networking
By Travis W. Trueblood
Sometimes the best approach to a legal problem is not the most direct. The same is true of networking. Here are a few tips for lawyers who belong to ethnic or racial minorities to connect with colleagues and new resources.
1. Join a professional organization. The ABA’s GPSolo Section is a great start, and committee work can introduce you to a network of close-knit professionals already attuned to your practice area.
2. Volunteer as a mentor to a diversity bar. It not only helps the student, but also gives you the opportunity to take a personal inventory of your own career. In addition, your esprit de corps puts you in contact with others who are dedicated to serving the profession and expanding their personal networks.
3. Do pro bono. All lawyers do pro bono to some degree. Make your pro bono count. Volunteer in your community, and champion a cause important to your community. Diverse communities stick together. It’s an excellent way to meet like-minded professionals, and maybe develop a fee-paying client.
4. Stay in school. Serve on an alumni committee of your law school and donate to its minority student organizations. Other minority alumni will take notice. Stress the importance of diversity by directing your financial gifts to specific causes at the school.
5. Get involved in the local bar scene. Become a member of your city and county bar associations and alternate meeting attendance between the two. It’s a minimum investment for a potentially big reward.
Travis W. Trueblood is an attorney in Miramar, Florida. His practice areas include Native American affairs law, civil litigation, real estate, and agricultural law. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Links to Resources
For information on the American Bar Association’s resources for minority lawyers, go online to http://www.abanet.org/minorities/links/minoritybars.html There you’ll also find links to the following specialty sites for Native American Indians:
• Native American Bar @ www.nativeamericanbar.org
• National American Indian Court Judges Association @ www.naicja.org/
• National Native American Law Students Association @ www.nnalsa.org/
• Native American Bar Association of DC @ www.nabadc.org/
• Minnesota Native American Indian Bar Association @ www.maiba.org/
• Northwest Indian Bar Association @ www.nwiba.org/
• Oklahoma Indian Bar Association @ www.oiba.net/