chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.

FAQs for New Commissioners

What is the Commission’s Mission?

The mission of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession is to be a catalyst promoting diversity and inclusion within the legal profession and the ABA by facilitating the entry, participation and retention of diverse lawyers. The Commission achieves this by furthering the development of substantive programs and services in which diverse lawyers, law firms and law students will actively participate.

Adopted November 2017

What are the Commission’s Historical Highlights?

The Commission was created in 1986 and is the oldest racial and ethnic diversity entity within the ABA. Please see the Commission’s Historic Timeline – separate handout.

What is the Commission’s Acronym?

The acronym for the Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity in the Profession is (CREDP).


How are Commissioners Appointed to the Commission?

Commissioners are appointed by the American bar Association President. To seek appointment, every Commissioner (both first-timers and those seeking re-appointment) must self-nominate through an online ABA process that generally opens in early December and runs through the third week of the following February. Commissioners are generally appointed for up to a three-year term. In addition to submitting a self- nomination online, Commissioners are encouraged to seek one or two support nominations. A Commissioner should always inform the Commission Chair and staff director if he or she does not wish to seek re-nomination.

How Much Time should a Commissioner Expect to Devote to Service on the Commission and What is Expected of a Commissioner?

Excluding travel, which will vary for each person, a Commissioner should expect to devote 20-40 hours a year to service. The time commitment will also vary depending on which projects the Commissioner participates. Some projects, such as Spirit of Excellence (SOE) demand intensive work from December – early February, but no work from early February until July).

It is both an honor and a responsibility to serve as a Commissioner. Each Commissioner is expected to participate actively, to serve on at least two current projects, and to attend all meetings, both in person and by telephone.

What Are the Current Programmatic activities of the Commission?

  • Model Diversity Survey: The Model Diversity Survey is the primary tool to implement Resolution 113. The purpose of the survey is to serve as the standard for law firms’ reporting of their diversity metrics. The benefits the survey has are data uniformity, time efficiency, and trending year over year in aggregate and for individual firms.
  • Publications (The Innovator): A semi-annual publication that focuses on ABA-wide racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion efforts.
  • Spirit of Excellence Luncheon: The Spirit of Excellence Awards celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. Awards are presented to the lawyers who excel in their professional settings; who personify excellence on the national and international level; and who have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal professional.
  • Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy (CBLA): The Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy (CBLA) is a joint initiative of the American Bar Association, its Commissions on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession and Disability Rights, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the National LGBT Bar Association, the National Native American Bar Association, and the South Asian Bar Association of North America. The CBLA is a coordinated effort to strengthen the pipeline of diverse bar association leaders by providing leadership training and professional development programs which will benefit current and future leaders of bar associations, and the legal profession overall. 

**Note that each Commissioner must serve on at least one, and preferably two committees during each year of service on the Commission.