Vol. 45, No. 6

A note from the chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services

This issue of Bar Leader comes to you at a very challenging time. Our world, our nation, and our communities were still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis touched off an important, but difficult, series of discussions and actions regarding racial inequity in our system of law enforcement and justice, and in society overall. As you may know, the ABA recently launched a racial equity resource website. For its part, the ABA Division for Bar Services has created a resource page to gather the related statements that bars have issued. 

The organized bar, as you know, plays a critical role as a convener of lawyers and many others who care about fairness and equity in our society and all of its systems, including the law enforcement and justice systems. Another important role for bars and bar leaders is as interrupters—those who challenge the persistent patterns that foster inequity and injustice. The conversations required to interrupt these patterns, and thus, to encourage more fairness toward all of us, are often difficult and uncomfortable. The path ahead is by no means easy—but the way we lead our bars, our profession, and our society has seldom mattered more than it does now. 

In this issue, Bar Leader touches on racial equity and on the shift that has occurred, nationwide, since late May. But this is, by no means, the end of our Bar Leader coverage of this topic. Indeed, the ABA Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services and the ABA Division for Bar Services—including Bar Leader Editor Marilyn Cavicchia—are steadily gathering information and resources as bars begin to move from their initial statements to further action. We intend to share this news with you—in the kind of depth that it requires—in the September-October issue of Bar Leader. To that end, please keep us posted on any bar initiatives that address this critical issue.

Hon. Pamila J. Brown
Chair, ABA Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services