Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division’s
Diversity Equity and Inclusion Plan
Updated February 2023
The Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division (GPSLD) strongly supports the policies of the American Bar Association to improve diversity in the profession and in the ranks of the members and leaders of all its entities. GPSLD should reflect professional diversity in all its forms, and keep pace with diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) developments nationwide. GPSLD will take specific steps to articulate its commitment to DEI, to educate its membership and the profession about DEI, to improve inclusivity, and to recognize and eradicate structural and institutional practices that perpetuate discrimination and bias, including implicit bias. DEI is an integral component of GPSLD’s continuing quest for excellence as a Division of the ABA and reflects GPSLD’s commitment to promoting diversity equity and inclusion among legal services providers and freedom from discrimination for those receiving legal services and in the justice system.
GPSLD recognizes the strong support for the conclusion that diversity in GPSLD membership will maximize our effectiveness and impact. Diverse organizations are more capable than their counterparts in attracting talent, developing strong relationships, and improving decision-making and innovation. We recognize that incorporating a diversity of thought and perspectives into GPSLD’s approach to solving problems and furthering the ABA’s mission will help GPSLD achieve better outcomes.
Diversity alone is not sufficient to achieve performance advantages. The power of diversity is amplified by cultivating inclusion, valuing our differences and empowering diversity of thought. A culture of inclusion, therefore, is essential to development of a strong Division and will allow maximum achievement of our objectives.
DEI is best understood as an environment that incorporates different perspectives, ideas and experiences and that endorses and supports action to champion DEI values. DEI includes:
• recognizing, respecting, and valuing differences based on race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or socioeconomic status;
• recognizing, respecting, and valuing differences based on an unlimited range of individual characteristics and experiences, such as communication style, career path, life experience, educational background, geographic location, honorably discharged veteran or military status, parental status, and other characteristics and experiences that influence a person’s perspective;
• a range of philosophies, policies, practices, and procedures to ensure equitable access to opportunities and resources within the organization, throughout the profession, and in the justice system;
• an unwavering commitment to disavowing discrimination and eliminating institutionalized and implicit bias within the GPSLD, throughout the profession, and in the justice system.
Actualizing DEI in an organizational context is an evolutionary process that requires an ongoing commitment to both DEI education and programming and to strategic inclusion by advancing opportunities for members of historically underrepresented and systematically oppressed groups.
To advance DEI as an organizational value, GPSLD commits itself to the following initiatives:
• Improving the level of DEI in GPSLD and its leadership by actively recruiting under-represented lawyers and fostering an atmosphere of inclusion to retain under-represented lawyers once they become members;
• Improving the level of DEI in committee appointments, writing, and speaking opportunities;
• Adopting a policy of intolerance for discrimination, harassment, or bias based on sex, race, national origin, and other protected statuses.
• Partnering with other ABA entities, other bar associations and affinity organizations engaged in DEI initiatives and education efforts in order to further this common objective;
• Creation of a GPSLD DEI committee to assist in carrying out these and other initiatives;
• Periodically reviewing organizational progress in advancing GPSLD’s commitment to DEI.
By adopting this policy, GPSLD recognizes its responsibility to become a DEI leader in the ABA and accepts ongoing responsibility for assuring that DEI is recognized as a core organizational value and understood as such by its membership.
It is with this in mind that GPSLD has adopted the following diversity plan:
1. To identify under-represented lawyers within GPSLD and to encourage those identified to take an active role in GPSLD so they can advance to leadership positions.
2. To co-sponsor or support appropriate proposed policy resolutions submitted to the ABA House of Delegates on issues involving DEI and full implementation of Goal IX.
3. To be informed of the activities and goals of the ABA Center for Diversity and Inclusion so that GPSLD can better coordinate efforts.
Long Range Goals:
1. Increase diversity in GPSLD leadership
a. Obtain unequivocal support and participation of GPSLD council members and committee chairs by providing them a copy of the diversity plan and periodically discussing the importance of the plan at council meetings.
b. Encourage the Nominating committee’s effort to achieve and maintain diversity in the leadership of GPSLD.
c. The Chair and Chair-Elect will ensure, in making appointments to committee leadership positions, that diversity is reflected.
d. Expand the responsibilities of the Young Lawyers Division and Law Student Division liaisons (since their constituency reflects a more diverse membership) to act as formal conduits for young lawyers and law students to:
• Become more actively involved within GPSLD.
• Obtain young lawyers or law students (where appropriate) as speakers or as writers for GPSLD programs/publications.
h. Strengthen and increase the flow of information between GPSLD, the Young Lawyers Division, the Law Student Division, and the ABA Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
2. Increase diversity in GPSLD’s general membership by
a. Obtain unequivocal support and participation of GPSLD’s committees in implementing the DEI plan.
b. Strongly encourage diverse panels in the CLE and committee programming and in images which appear in GPSLD publications.
c. Involve in GPSLD activities under-represented lawyers who already are involved in local and national minority bar associations.
3. Raise awareness that diversity is valued and why it is valued by GPSLD
a. Encourage a policy that GPSLD will cosponsor programs with other entities if there is a diverse panel.
b. GPLSD’s DEI committee will publish regular reports on achievements of GPSLD in achieving greater diversity.
c. Continue to present on-campus GPSLD programs at law schools with diverse panels.
Action Plan: Specific Activities
1. Encourage the nomination of deserving under-represented lawyers for the Dorsey, Hodson, and Nelson Awards.
2. Encourage the nomination of under-represented lawyers to council positions.
3. Encourage GPSLD leaders’ attendance at the Spirit of Excellence Awards luncheon sponsored by the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession held during the Midyear Meeting and the Margaret Brent Awards luncheon sponsored by the Commission on Women in the Profession held during the Annual Meeting.
4. Encourage under-represented lawyers to submit articles to The Public Lawyer.
5. Print articles promoting DEI in The Public Lawyer.
6. Consider promoting various initiatives to facilitate the ability of first-time attendees to meet new and existing members, including mentoring arrangements.
7. GPSLD’s DEI committee will periodically evaluate this DEI plan by assessing DEI plans from other organizations and ABA entities to obtain new ideas and reporting to and seeking approval of recommended changes to the DEI plan from the Council.