March 06, 2020 Chair's Message

From the Chair

Helen B. Kim, Chair, ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession
Helen B. Kim
Chair
ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession

Helen B. Kim Chair ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession

Welcome to The Innovator, the newsletter of the ABA’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.  I am honored and privileged to serve as Chair of this Commission during this 2019-2020 bar year. 

The 2020 Midyear Meeting will include many exciting events and programs. On behalf of the Commission, I invite you to join us for one of the Commission’s signature events, the 2020 Spirit of Excellence Luncheon, which will be held on Saturday, February 15, 2020, at the JW Marriott Austin, 110 E. 2nd Street in Austin, Texas.  Since 1996, the Commission has presented the Spirit of Excellence Award to individuals who have distinguished themselves in the legal profession and who have promoted the cause of increasing diversity and inclusion in our profession.  This year, the Commission will honor Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, director of the Indian Legal Clinic at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law; Donise E. Brown, director-corporate counsel for Starbucks; Judge Lora Livingston of the Travis County Civil District Court in Austin, Texas; Richard Pena, former president of the State Bar of Texas and of the American Bar Foundation; and Donald K. Tamaki, managing partner of Minami Tamaki LLP, co-founder of the Asian Law Alliance and former executive director of the Asian Law Caucus.  The luncheon is always one of the highlights of the ABA Midyear Meeting.  Please join and support us. 

We also invite you to attend our conference at Midyear 2020 entitled, “Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice:  Working Together for Access, Equity and Inclusion.”  This conference represents a collaboration between the Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, the Center for Public Interest Law and the Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service to present two full days of programs, not just by those three entities, but also by several ABA Sections and Divisions, as well as other Goal III entities.  The programs focusing on diversity and inclusion will take place on Saturday, February 15, 2020, at the JW Marriott Austin, both before and after the Commission’s Spirit of Excellence Awards Luncheon.

I also invite you to read and enjoy the articles in this issue.  This issue includes an article, “Moving Beyond the Illusion of Inclusion: Appreciating the Importance and Value of Inclusion in Creating a Diverse Profession”by Denise M. Sharperson,Esq., a Certified Diversity Professional who previously served as both the assistant general counsel and the first director of diversity initiatives for the New Jersey State Bar Association; an article by Jerome Crawford and David Morrow, describing the ABA Young Lawyers Division’s Men of Color Project; and an article, “The Goal III Report – A Review and What’s New” by Jo Ann Engelhardt, a member of the ABA Council for Diversity in the Educational Pipeline and its liaison to the Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.

We hope this newsletter helps to keep you informed of the Commission’s efforts to achieve ABA’s Goal III by increasing awareness and advocating for policies to eliminate bias and enhance diversity. Please help us to transform the ABA’s Goal III from a goal into reality. 

Helen B. Kim

Chair, ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession