March 09, 2021

ABA Equity Summit

The Summit Planning Committee of the American Bar Association (ABA) Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council (Advisory Council) is excited to announce the 2021 ABA Equity Summit. 

The theme of this inaugural Equity Summit is Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Legal Profession and Beyond. The virtual Conference will be held from September 27-30, 2021. It will take place tentatively for 4.5 hours daily, including an array of CLE, workshop, keynote, and networking content.

Equity Summit Goals

  • The ABA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit will ensure greater visibility of DEI issues in the legal profession (and beyond) and elevate the collaborative work and profile of the ABA.

  • The Summit’s CLEs, Workshops, Keynotes, and Networking programming will provide opportunities for greater collaboration and to elevate existing work and innovative work on DEI efforts with legal professionals. 

  • The Summit will ensure high-level engagement from multiple ABA entities (and non-ABA entities) who are part of the D&I Advisory Council. It will be marketed heavily within the ABA and with national affiliates, including affinity bars, and external groups. 

    • It will provide opportunity for ABA entities to work together more proactively--especially ABA Sections, Divisions, Forums, Centers, Commissions, Standing Committees, Task Forces and National Affinity Bar Associations and other partners.

Request for Proposals: Due 4/8/21

RFP Form Here--See Instructions and More Info Below

The D&I Advisory Council's Equity Summit Planning Committee is seeking program proposals featuring proficient speakers and cutting-edge topics related to the field of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the legal profession, as well as the profession’s role in advancing  DEI to support equity within the legal system.

Submissions: Prospective speakers and panelists are invited to submit a program and speaker proposal to be considered for either a breakout session, workshop, TED Talk format, or CLE presentation. Summit proposals should reflect an acknowledgment of the virtual format and creative, interactive ways to engage a virtual audience. CLE sessions are required to be 60 minutes long (inclusive of approx. 15 minutes of Q&A); workshops will be 45 minutes long. TED Talk-style presentations will be 5-10 minutes maximum.

Audience: Conference attendees are, for the most part, professionals who are staff or volunteers of lawyer assistance programs, lawyers, clinicians, judges, law school deans or professional services administrators, law students, advocacy program representatives, community groups engaging with equity issues and the law, national, state, local,  and affinity bar associations, and representatives of legal employers. 

Topics: Conference participants are interested in a wide range of topics including diversity and inclusion initiatives in workplaces, the impact of the pandemic and economic recession on lawyers from diverse backgrounds and on the legal profession generally, professional responsibility and diversity and inclusion (ABA Model Rule 8.4(g)), community lawyering, equity in the legal profession, and the role the legal profession can play emphasizing the importance of DEI among the public, and related topics.

Submissions are open to anyone with relevant skill, background, knowledge, and expertise. Preference will be given to those presentations that expand the substantive, as well as practical knowledge base of Conference attendees. Panels comprising diverse membership, as well as those relevant to underrepresented groups in the legal community, are strongly encouraged. To make proposals compelling, make it clear what problems your session will address, what the tangible learning objectives will be, and any practical takeaways.

Follow This Link to Submit a Program Proposal for the Equity Summit


Presentation Criteria: Program Proposals will be considered if the following criteria are met:

  • All sections of the application are complete.
  • All presenters or speakers, including the moderator of a program are identified.
  • Presenter credentials and CV/bio indicate sufficient experience and knowledge of the subject matter.
  • CLE Programs must meet qualifications for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit. Continuing Education Units (CEU) may also be available. 
    • To qualify for CLE credit baseline requirements, include in the proposal a description how the presentation deals with matters directly related to the practice of law and covers any of the following subjects: professional responsibility, ethics, professionalism, wellness, and elimination of bias in the legal profession. Ensure that at least one licensed attorney is an active participant in in the presentation, either as speaker or moderator. Wherever possible, proposals should include references to the relevant, a) ABA Model Rules of Professional Responsibility, b) substantive areas of law or c) other special CLE credit requirements
    • For CLE proposals, the information provided must include substantive written course materials. Examples include detailed presentation slides, articles, white papers, essays, or detailed outlines.
  • Presentations must embrace the concept of diversity, equity and inclusion and offer unique educational/practical experiences. The proposal should clearly articulate a diverse range of voices, perspectives, and content to find wider support.  Presentations that include panels of multiple speakers must include individuals representing a range of ethnic, racial, cultural, and other backgrounds.
  • Sessions should be designed with the assumption that facilitators will use their expertise to promote, guide and elicit discussion and problem solving, rather than simply talking at the audience.
  • The format and delivery method of the program should allow the audience to achieve the stated learning objectives. Consideration will be given to fresh or new styles of presentations such as those that utilize interactive techniques, TED-talks, interview formats or fireside chats. 
  • The novelty of the topic is a factor in selection—i.e., whether a similar presentation was offered at a recent Conference, will also be a consideration in final selections of proposals.
  • Moderators are optional but consider including a moderator who can manage the speakers, encourage a discussion with the audience and can keep the program directed, lively and interesting.
  • The presentation is not to be used to market products or services and is free from commercial bias.

Benefits of Presenting:

  • Promotion of speaker’s name and credentials on the D&I Advisory Council’s Conference website, and in all digital and print marketing materials, where appropriate.
  • Recognition of speakers’ expertise by colleagues and other professionals.
  • Networking opportunities.

Responsibility of Speakers/Presenters/Moderators:

  • Submit a short biography, photo and speaker release.
  • Submit substantive program materials.
  • Participate in 2-3 program planning calls.
  • Speakers may be asked to pre-record their remarks for ease of access, but will still be requested to join live Q&A sessions following the recording.
  • Moderators and speakers are expected to arrive prior to their scheduled program start time for set-up and any prep/tech check.
  • The D&I Advisory Council will not provide reimbursement or honoraria to any speaker/presenter/moderator presenting at the Conference.

Note: Applicants will be notified of the Committee’s selection or non-selection in the spring. Programs will be scheduled on any of the conference dates and times at the discretion of the Summit Planning Committee.

Please be sure to click Submit at the bottom of the proposal form to send electronically or save the form as a PDF and email it to Safaya Fawzi at no later than Thursday, April 8, 2021.

Thank you.

D&I Advisory Council DEI Summit Planning Committee