The Diversity Caucus and the Adoption of a Diversity Plan

Vol. 14, No. 4

By

With assistance from the Diversity Steering Committee

In the fall of 2010, the Governing Committee of the ABA Forum on Franchising approved the creation of the Forum’s Diversity Caucus.  Its mission is to develop and implement initiatives to support the Forum’s diversity goals of:  (1) increasing the number of diverse members in the Forum; (2) growing the representation of diverse members in the Forum’s divisions and committees; (3) continuing to develop a strong base of diverse writers and speakers for the Forum; and (4) creating a growing pool of diverse members ready to assume leadership positions in the Forum.  The Diversity Caucus also will strive to raise awareness of the value of diversity in the profession. 

The Forum’s Diversity Officer, Leslie Curran (Plave Koch PLC, 703-774-1215 or lcurran@plavekoch.com), oversees the Diversity Caucus along with a six-member Steering Committee. Each member on the Steering Committee has a two-year term. Currently, members include:

The formation of the Diversity Caucus assists the Forum and the American Bar Association to meet their respective goals and objectives regarding diversity. In June 2011, the ABA adopted a diversity plan and encouraged the Forum to create its own plan that assigns responsibility for diversity directly to the Forum’s leadership. In response, the Forum’s Diversity Caucus proposed a strategic diversity plan to the Governing Committee, which will be considered at the October 2011 Governing Committee meeting. This plan strives to fulfill the recommendation of the ABA and address the proposals and concerns that have been raised by the Forum’s Diversity Caucus.

The proposed Diversity Plan is intended to lead the Forum to achieve its goals with regard to diversity. Key components of this Plan include that the Forum will:

  • Ensure full and equal participation in the Forum by all eligible persons (including attorneys, paralegals, law professors and law students).
  • Eliminate bias in the Forum and, ultimately, the ABA.
  • Foster the recruitment and retention of diverse lawyers and law students, and their advancement through leadership.
  •  Enhance opportunities for diverse individuals to participate in Forum activities and programs (including the Annual Meeting and serving on editorial boards and as authors for publications).
  • Promote a culture of inclusion that attracts diverse members of the profession to the Forum.
  • Educate Forum members and leaders about the benefits and importance of diversity.

The Diversity Caucus invites interested members of the Forum to attend the Diversity Lunch on Thursday, October 20, 2011, from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., at the Annual Forum meeting in Baltimore. At that lunch, the Forum Chair and other Forum Governing Committee members will discuss the pathways to leadership and opportunities for involvement with Forum activities. In addition, the Diversity Caucus has joined with the Women’s Caucus and the Corporate Counsel Division to plan a community service event to benefit the local Baltimore community. We hope you will join us Saturday morning, October 22, 2011, as we all join together to help out Moveable Feast. We will be preparing nutritious, free meals for people in need in the Baltimore area. The Steering Committee looks forward to connecting with you in person at these events!  As the 2011 Annual Forum meeting closes, we hope that you will consider submitting feedback on the event and suggestions for the 2012 Annual Forum meeting. To do so, please visit http://www.registration123.com/aba/11FRANCHISING/SpecialEvents.cfm.

Finally, to find out more about the Diversity Caucus and how you can assist us with our efforts, please contact any member of the Forum’s Governing Committee or the Steering Committee of the Diversity Caucus.

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