chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan

Jump to:

Introduction

The American Bar Association Antitrust Law Section (the “Section”) strategically and passionately embraces Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Quite simply, we believe that diversity in membership and leadership best advances the Section’s goal to be “the world’s leading community of competition, consumer protection, and data privacy professionals” and our vision to “help all professionals in our field be more successful and productive.” To that end, the Section has developed this plan to advance its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion goals. This plan also supports the greater American Bar Association’s Goal III.

This plan is both broad and targeted. It is intended to address Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Section generally, but also to use specific action items to allow the Section to further Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the activities that our members believe offer the highest return on investment (“ROI”) from participation in the Section.

Background

In developing this Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan, the Section Long Range Diversity Planning Committee (the “Committee”) undertook the following activities:

  • Conducted a competitive bidding process and, at the completion of that process, hired a diversity consultant
  • Worked with the consultant to conduct a quantitative diversity survey to understand the makeup of the Section
  • Worked with the consultant to create a standard list of questions for qualitative research, and then held twenty focus groups over two days to consider those questions.

Our consultant asked focus group participants questions to identify the actions that provided the highest ROI for Section involvement, to identify and evaluate the Section’s current Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts, and to identify areas where the Section can further enhance its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts generally and in those high ROI areas specifically. The insights gained from these focus groups were evaluated by the diversity consultant, and then, with input of the Council and the Committee, used to create the goals and action items of this Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan.

While this plan primarily focuses on race/ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ+, and disability (and not necessarily age because of current Section demographics), the Section also intends to facilitate inclusion of the perspectives of veterans, plaintiffs lawyers, small firm lawyers, solo practitioners, economists, government lawyers, judges, in-house lawyers and other under-represented groups throughout the Section.

The Plan: Goals and Actions

Goal No. 1: Continued efforts to achieve diversity in leadership and to ensure that all members of Section leadership positively contribute to the Section’s achievement of its goals and action items regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Action Plan: Diversity in leadership, and commitment to diversity by all members of leadership, are critical to the Section’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Additionally, participation in Section leadership was described in the focus groups as one of the two highest ROI activities of the Section. The focus groups also indicated that knowledge of how to achieve leadership roles in the Section is not well known, especially among section members from underrepresented backgrounds. The Section commits to the following action items:

  1. Any candidate for an Officer position must demonstrate to the Nominating Committee prior significant investment producing positive ROI in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts of the Section.
  2. The Section will actively consider and aspire to have members from underrepresented backgrounds in Officer and Council positions.
  3. The Section will have a page on its website that describes the process by which members seek and are selected by the Chair-elect for leadership positions and by which the Nominating Committee selects Council members and Officers, and the factors considered in those selections.
  4. Each Council Member will sponsor one of the Section affinity group “squads” and have strategic engagement with that squad during the Section year. The squads will determine how they wish to engage with their Council Member. Each Council Member will report to Council on their engagement with the squad at least once per year.
  5. In all applications for leadership, the applicant will need to indicate what efforts they engage in, or will engage in, to positively contribute to supporting and furthering the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of the Section (understanding that quotas are not permissible).
  6. The Section will have the Vice Chair report diversity metrics (to the extent voluntarily provided) regarding leadership positions on a yearly basis. These results will be available on the Section website, with a disclaimer that the data is based on voluntarily disclosed information.
  7. Each squad will create a written strategic plan for positively contributing to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of the section, and this strategic plan will be discussed with the sponsoring Council member.
  8. Aspirational goal: to have a person from an underrepresented background, including the possibility of a person of color, as the Vice Chair of the Section within 5 years.

Goal No. 2: Continued improvement in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with respect to speaking opportunities at Spring Meeting and other Section conferences

Action Plan: The focus groups indicated that the other highest ROI activity in the Section is the opportunity to speak at the Spring Meeting and other Section conferences. Because diversity of thought leads to more robust discussions and better outcomes, it is strategically important for the Section to ensure that members of differing substantive perspectives and those from underrepresented backgrounds are represented in all of the Section’s activities, but especially high-profile activities. The Section commits to the following action items:

  1. All panels at the Spring Meeting and other CLE conferences will continue to be reviewed by the Program Officer; and the Program Officer will consider whether the demographics of all panels support the Section’s overall goals in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  2. All non-CLE conferences will continue to be reviewed by the Committee Officer, and the Committee Officer will consider whether the demographics of all panels for non-CLE programs support the Section’s overall goals in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  3. The Section will measure and report its diversity statistics (to the extent voluntarily provided) regarding speaking opportunities at CLE conference on a yearly basis, both to its members and on the Section’s website, with a disclaimer that the data is based on voluntarily disclosed information.
  4. The Section will develop a plan for building, which will include coordinating with the ABA Center on Diversity and Inclusion, and the ABA IT department, a database of speakers from diverse backgrounds.

Goal No. 3: Better Section awareness of the members from underrepresented backgrounds in the Section and their skill sets.

Action Plan: Another observation from the focus groups is that there is not enough awareness within the Section regarding the active engagement and the skills and talents of members from underrepresented backgrounds. The Section commits to the following action items, some of which are discussed above:

  1. The Section will develop a plan for a speaker database (discussed above).
  2. Each Council Member will sponsor a Section squad (discussed above).
  3. In the 2022-2023 Section year, the Vice Chair will make an assessment of how to further maximize the positive impact on the diversity, equity, and inclusion of the Section and profile of the squads.
  4. In year two of this plan, the Section, with assistance from the diversity consultant discussed above, will work with the squads on strategic plans.

Goal No. 4: Effectively communicate diversity efforts and results.

The focus groups revealed that there is a perception gap between the Section’s actual achievements in the area of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and what members believe the Section has achieved on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The Section commits to the following action items, some of which are listed above.

  1. Transparent yearly measurement and reporting of diversity statistics (officers, council, chairs, vice chairs, YLR/YERs, speakers at the Spring Meeting and other CLE programs) to be conducted by the Vice Chair of the Section.
  2. The Section will assess and revise the discussion of the Section’s diversity efforts on the Section website to better communicate the Section’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts and achievements.
  3. Have regular reports on key Diversity, Equity and Inclusion statistics on the agendas and in materials for leadership meetings, and publicize the Section’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts and performance at important Section events like Spring Meeting.

Goal No. 5: Obtain better demographic data so that the Section can more accurately measure and report its diversity efforts and achievements.

Action Plan: The survey attempted as part of the creation of this Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan revealed that the Section does not have sufficient demographic data regarding its members. To effectively measure and report, as set forth above, the Section needs this data. Thus, the Section commits to the following action items:

  1. The Section will appeal to its members, at all of its events and in application processes, to voluntarily input their demographic data in their individual profile.
  2. The Section will have QR codes or other current and efficient tech-enabled means available at Section events for people to update their profiles with demographic information, and areas of expertise.

Conclusion

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is critical to a growing and thriving Section, both now and in the future. The targeted actions set forth above can help the Section address Diversity, Equity and Inclusion both generally, and in its highest profile and highest impact activities and roles. These goals and actions are intended to leverage the engagement of members, and provide measurable and strategic enhancement of the Section’s performance.

 

Conduct Pledge

The ABA Antitrust Law Section is committed to providing a welcoming and supportive environment that promotes professional growth, connection, leadership, and development. 

While participating in any Section event or discussion (in-person, online event, email, telephone, etc.), we can expect professional conduct from one another, which includes, at a minimum, civility towards Section members, staff and other professionals who participate in Section activities. Section leaders and members and all participants in the Section’s programs are expected to positively contribute to the Section’s goals of diversity, equity and inclusion, and help create a respectful culture for the Section in which individuals feel welcome and empowered.

Anyone participating in a Section event who determines that these expectations were not met should contact the Section's Diversity Officer (currently Steve Cernak at [email protected] or 248-994-2221), the Section Director, or any other Section Officer.  

Nothing in this Pledge is intended to limit anyone’s rights or obligations under the ABA’s Business Conduct Standards and any individual is welcome to follow the reporting mechanism detailed there.