SEER Diversity Action Plan

ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER)
Diversity Action Plan


I. ABA and SEER Diversity Goals

The ABA’s Goal III (one of four Association Goals), adopted by the House of Delegates in 2008, provides:

GOAL III: Eliminate bias and enhance diversity.
1. Promote full and equal participation in the Association, our profession, and the justice system by all persons.
2. Eliminate bias in the legal profession and the Justice System.

SEER’s Diversity Goal is:

To increase diversity in Section membership, committees, leadership, programs, publications, and further the ABA Goal III, which is to eliminate bias and enhance diversity.

“Diversity” encompasses all aspects in which membership and leadership in SEER have less diversity than the legal profession or the U.S. population.  SEER is particularly cognizant of the importance of diversity with respect to race, ethnicity, gender, gender orientation, disabilities, age (experienced and young lawyers, students), different types of legal practices, and geography. Increasing diversity entails both membership and participation: diversity not only in SEER membership but also in SEER leaders and participants in SEER’s educational, publications, membership, and other activities.

“Diversity” entails both the existence of diversity - the presence of lawyers and law students from all backgrounds – and inclusion – involvement and participation of diverse individuals in SEER activities.

Back to Top

II. SEER Diversity Action Plan

To further ABA’s Goal III, the ABA adopted a Diversity Plan.  Similarly, SEER adopts this Diversity Action Plan. The SEER Diversity Action Plan uses and modifies text in the ABA Diversity Action Plan, and adds reference to particular SEER programs and activities.

Back to Top

III. Objectives of the Diversity Action Plan

SEER’s Diversity Action Plan designates the following objectives.

A) Make SEER’s Diversity Goals and Action Plan available to SEER membership and participants and the public.
B) Monitor diversity in SEER membership and leadership and implementation of diversity goals.
C) Increase diversity of SEER membership and leadership.
D) Promote diversity in all SEER educational activities.

E) Promote diversity in all SEER publications (hard copy and electronic).
F) Prepare Implementation Timeline, Reviews, and Reports.

G) Take Responsibility for Implementation.

Back to Top

IV. Actions to Meet Objectives of the Diversity Action Plan

SEER’s Diversity Action Plan identifies the following actions to meet the Plan’s objectives:

A) Make SEER’s Diversity Goals and Action Plan available to SEER membership and participants and the public.

  1. Distribute to SEER leaders at the beginning of each ABA year.
  2. Post the plan on SEER’s Web site and link to other successful diversity programs and activities within the ABA so that membership and public can view.
  3. Distribute the ABA’s annual Goal III diversity reports among SEER leadership.

B) Monitor diversity in SEER membership and leadership, and implementation of diversity goals.

  1. Continue tracking diversity in SEER appointments and leadership positions.
  2. Continue tracking diversity in presenters at SEER conferences.
  3. Continue tracking diversity in preparers of SEER publications.
  4. Compare and analyze SEER diversity to overall ABA diversity.
  5. Request the each SEER Committee identify how diversity will be addressed, increased, and monitored.
  6. Distribute diversity commitments and actions to the members of each respective committee.
  7. Report on a semi-annual basis progress toward achieving the commitments.

C) Increase diversity of SEER membership and leadership.

  1. Identify and exercise best practices through consultation with the Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, its constituent entities, and others who have expertise on diversity:
    • Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession
    • Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice
    • Council on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline
    • Commission on Women in the Profession
    • Commission on Disability Rights
    • Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  2. Continue and improve the following SEER outreach programs to enhance diversity among existing and prospective SEER leaders and members:
    • Membership Diversity Enhancement Program
    • Leadership Development Program
    • Tribal Travel Stipend Program
    • Diversity Fellowships in Environmental Law
    • Environmental Justice topics at SEER programs
    • Young Lawyers Task Force
    • Law Student Task Force
    • Social Media Task Force
    • Public Service Task Force
  3. Reach out to diverse individuals and groups outside of the ABA:
    • Review and as necessary revise marketing and membership solicitation materials to be welcoming to diverse populations.
    • For SEER activities, engage in active marketing, recruitment and outreach efforts to affinity bars and other professional organizations, legal communities, and law schools to promote diversity.
    • Invest in a regular presence in pertinent legal and diversity publications and conferences to convey SEER diversity outreach.
    • Support ABA discounted joint dues campaigns with affinity and specialty bar associations by offering discounted SEER dues, through SEER’s Membership Diversity Enhancement Program.
    • Explore additional membership campaigns designed to enhance diversity.
  4. Co-sponsor SEER events and participate in activities with specialty bar associations.
  5. Develop or enhance mentoring and academic programs that target young lawyers and law students, and are designed to advance diversity within the Section and the ABA.
  6. Use these steps to increase diversity in SEER leadership relative to the SEER diversity summarized in the ABA’s FY 2011 Goal III Report, attached to this Action Plan as Exhibit A.
  7. Reach out to SEER committee leaders to determine if the committees have experienced issues related to diversity.

D) Promote diversity in all SEER educational activities.

  1. Implement actions to improve diversity among speakers, moderators, and attendees.
  2. Include program content relevant to diverse communities, consistent with the sponsoring entities’ subject matter specialties, if any.
  3. Explore partnering or co-sponsoring opportunities with affinity bars and other organizations that can contribute to diversity.
  4. Ensure program venues and materials are accessible to participants with disabilities.
  5. Use program locations and venues, as well as social media, to enhance opportunities for participation by diverse lawyers and law students (e.g., locations and methods of presentation (telephone, internet) that may minimize cost barriers; venues that may increase diverse community participation, like HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) law schools, affinity bar association locations; and social networking sites that may increase marketing efforts to and participation by diverse communities).
  6. Support programs like the Howard University School of Law Environmental Law Program.
  7. Seek diversity in speakers, award recipients, planning and awards nominations committees.
  8. Partner with local diverse community groups to plan a diversity event in conjunction with one of the larger SEER conferences (Fall Meeting, Annual SEER meeting).

E) Promote diversity in all SEER publications (hard copy and electronic).

  1. Implement strategic actions to increase diversity in SEER members responsible for editorial policy and content of publications.
  2. Include publications content relevant to diverse communities.
  3. Ensure content of publications are accessible to persons with disabilities.
  4. Explore opportunities for including in a publication an on-going column or section about diversity resources, issues, and best practices.

F) Prepare Implementation Timeline, Reviews, and Reports.

  1. SEER’s Membership Officer shall prepare an initial timeline for implementation of actions identified in this Diversity Action Plan.  The initial timeline shall begin with the 2011-2012 (FY 2012) ABA Year and continue for subsequent ABA years.  Prior to expiration of the FY 2012 ABA Year, SEER’s Membership Officer shall submit this initial timeline to the SEER Council for approval.
  2. After the beginning of each new ABA Year, the SEER Membership Officer shall review the Diversity Action Plan and the Action Plan’s implementation timeline and propose revisions, if any, to the Plan and timeline to SEER Council for approval.
  3. The implementation timeline most recently approved by SEER Council shall become an appendix to this Diversity Action Plan.
  4. At SEER Council Meetings, the Membership Officer shall report about diversity in SEER, the Diversity Action Plan, and its implementation.

G) Take Responsibility for Implementation.

  1. All SEER leaders are responsible for implementation of this Diversity Action Plan.
  2. SEER’s Membership Officer is responsible to monitor and, where helpful to SEER leaders, coordinate implementation.
  3. Include diversity in responsibilities identified in SEER leadership appointment letters.
  4. Include in SEER end-of-year committee reports a report on the committee’s diversity.

Back to Top