February 05, 2020

Diversity Caucus

About the Division

The Forum's Governing Committee approved the formation of the Diversity Caucus in October of 2010. The Diversity Caucus assists the Forum and the American Bar Association in meeting their respective goals and objectives regarding diversity. We encourage Forum members to reach out to the leaders of the Diversity Caucus and the Forum to discuss opportunities for involvement and make suggestions for initiatives for the Caucus.

Our mission is to develop and implement initiatives to support the Forum's diversity goals of (1) increasing the number of diverse members in the Forum; (2) growing the representation of diverse members in the Forum's divisions and committees; (3) continuing to develop a strong base of diverse writers and speakers for the Forum; and (4) creating a growing pool of diverse members ready to assume leadership positions in the Forum. The Diversity Caucus also strives to raise awareness of the value of diversity in the profession.

Read the ABA Diversity Plan
Read the Forum’s Diversity Plan

News, Events & Announcements

2020 Annual Meeting

The Diversity Caucus has the pleasure of presenting Dr. Isaiah McKinnon, former Detroit Police Chief, as the keynote speaker at the annual Diversity Caucus gathering during the annual ABA Forum on Franchising – a virtual gathering this year. Dr. McKinnon began his five-decade career in public service as an officer with the Detroit Police Department in 1965.  He has held many positions in the department including patrol operations and various supervisory, administrative, command, and executive roles, including Police Chief and Deputy Mayor.  This discussion is certainly important and timely, and we are happy to have the opportunity to hear from Dr. McKinnon.

Please let us know if there is a particular topic you want explored at future events. This Diversity Caucus is here to serve the needs of our diverse Forum members, and we can best achieve it with your feedback.

2019 Annual Meeting

The October 2019 Diversity Caucus lunch in Denver, Colorado, was an opportunity to have a very open and candid discussion about diversity and inclusion in the legal workplace.  The “open mic” format, guided by the Diversity Caucus Steering Committee, provided a platform for Forum members to share their experiences in recognizing and addressing these issues.  Thank you to the attendees for their participation in this conversation.

2018 Annual Meeting

At the annual Diversity Caucus Lunch, speakers, Sherin Sakr, Clay Tillack, and Liza Favaro joined the Diversity Caucus to discuss the challenges of recognizing and working to eliminate bias in law firms.  The issues discussed included: How does law firm bias manifest itself? How can law firms create a workplace that encourages success for all? What do clients expect from law firms in terms of diversity and inclusion? How can clients and law firms work together to create a bias-free work environment? 

Calling All Diverse Forum Members

Since our inception in October 2010, the Diversity Caucus has operated with an informal membership roll. Forum members were invited to join us for the Annual Diversity Luncheon and participate in co-sponsored events such as the community service project. With this new year, we strive to become a more recognized caucus in the Forum and urge all Forum members to participate in our events.

Diversity Officer:

Bethany L. Appleby
Appleby & Corcoran, LLC
(203) 623-7129

Steering Committee:
Adrian K. Felix
Bilzin Sumberg
(305) 350-7234

Maisa Jean Frank
Lathrop GPM
(202) 295-2209

Iris Figueroa Rosario
(703) 864-2617

Dawn Diaz
Sun Holdings, Inc.
(972) 620-2287

Mohammad M. Alturk
Baker McKenzie
(214) 978 3029

Joseph J Santaniello
Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP
(704) 945-2141

For more information about Diversity & Inclusion and the ABA, please visit: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/diversity/ and https://www.americanbar.org/advocacy/justice-system/