As I complete my third year chairing the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, I want to take a point of personal privilege to express my gratitude. Chairing the Commission has been a gift!
I am grateful for the commissioners, liaisons, and staff that I've worked with over the past three years. As this journey began, we were in the throes of the pandemic. We were not able to work in the usual ways. We had to learn new ways to do everything from regular commission meetings to honoring trailblazers at virtual Spirit of Excellence events. Doing things in new ways did not disrupt us from leaning into the work, accomplishing great things, and building the bonds of friendship and shared mission. I am grateful!
So, what are those great things we've accomplished together? Well, for a start we have significantly increased the number of signatory corporations in the Model Diversity Survey (“MDS”) Program. These corporations have displayed commitment to increasing diversity in the legal profession. They are using the data from the MDS and engaging in critical dialogue with their law firms about hiring, promotion and attrition issues.
We also released three reports based on the data from the MDS. The 2020 MDS Report was released in February 2021. It provided the data from the first three years of MDS survey data. The findings were not all together surprising, but the report confirmed the lived experiences of diverse attorneys and provided a baseline from which we could measure change. The 2021 MDS Report was released in February 2022 and focused on changes and trends from the first report. The recently released 2022 MDS Report took on a new look and feel. We revamped the report by connecting various components of the data to the definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I am grateful to Dr. Richard Harvey and his team for careful analysis and expert reporting that allows Report readers to understand the data. Understanding the data allows us to work on solutions to address the impediments to greater opportunity in the legal profession. I am grateful for these impactful reports!