Diversity Plan


Created August, 4, 2001, revised August, 2013

The Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division 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. A diverse membership makes the Division stronger and more relevant to the multicultural society in which we live. Diverse skills and perspectives, when brought together in open and free discussions of issues, will result in deeper understanding and better resolutions of those issues.

The goal of diversity can only be achieved with the unequivocal support and participation of the Division's leadership and the individual commitment of each active Division member. In order to increase the participation of lawyers of color, women lawyers, younger lawyers, law students, lawyers from outside of the U.S., lawyers with disabilities, and  lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lawyers, (hereinafter "under-represented lawyers") Division leadership and active members must be given guidance, encouragement, and training to:

  • actively recruit under-represented lawyers;
  • foster an atmosphere of inclusion to assist in retaining under-represented lawyers once they become members;
  • seek the participation of under-represented lawyers on panels and working groups; and,
  • provide under-represented lawyers with opportunities and training to take on leadership roles at both the Committee and Division levels.

It is with this in mind that the Division has adopted the following diversity plan:

Division Objectives:
  • To identify under-represented lawyers within the Division and to encourage those identified to take an active role in the Division so they can advance to leadership positions.
  • To co-sponsor appropriate policy for the ABA through resolutions submitted to the House of Delegates on issues involving diversity and full implementation of Goal III.
  • To involve the Division with other ABA sections and divisions for the purpose of informing their members of Division programs and panels.
  • To be informed of the activities and goals of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession and the Commission on Women in the Profession for the purpose of enabling the Division to coordinate efforts with these entities.

Long Range Goals:
Increase diversity in Division officers, council members and committee leadership.
  • Obtain unequivocal support and participation of Division officers, council members and committee chairs by providing a copy of the diversity plan to each existing and incoming officer, council member and committee chair.
  • Encourage the Nominating committee's effort to achieve and maintain diversity in the leadership of the Division.
  • Include diversity materials in the Division's handbook including, among other things, this plan, and a list of resources providing technical assistance and information for diversity on panels and publications, such as the Minority Speakers Clearinghouse.
  • Periodically update diversity resource materials.
  • The Chair and Chair-Elect will ensure, in making appointments to committee and leadership positions, that diversity is reflected.
  • Provide accountability to diversity through the use of the Goal III Report card and questionnaire and report findings as a council meeting agenda item wherever possible.
  • 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:
    • Obtain appointments within the Division.
    • Obtain young lawyers or law students (where appropriate) as speakers or as writers for Division publications.
  • Strengthen and increase the flow of information between the Division and the Young Lawyers Division, Law Student Division, the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, and the Commission on Women in the Profession by:
    • Providing membership material to law students focusing on benefits to law students and younger lawyers.
    • Inviting law students and young lawyers to receptions at the Midyear and Annual meetings, when appropriate and feasible.
  • Continuing Law Student Career Panels at Midyear, Annual and stand-alone meetings.
  • Periodically evaluate this diversity plan including:
    • An assessment of diversity plans from other organizations and ABA entities to obtain new ideas.
    • Report recommended changes to the diversity plan and seek approval from the Council.
Increase diversity in membership.
  • Obtain unequivocal support and participation of the Division's committees in implementing the diversity plan.
  • Strongly encourage diverse panels in the CLE and committee programming and in images which appear in Division publications.
  • Appoint informal liaisons to the national minority bar associations (National Bar Association, Hispanic National Bar Association, National Asian Pacific Bar Association), establish expectations or responsibilities for each of these liaisons.
  • Involve in Division activities under-represented lawyers who already are involved in local and national minority bar associations.
  • Encourage joint programming with national and local minority bar associations.
  • Solicit speakers from minority bar associations located in the host city.
  • Send information on Division membership and benefits to meetings of minority bar associations.
  • Personally invite members and leaders of minority bar associations in the host city to programs and events and appoint Division members to serve as hosts to such attendees.
  • Coordinate efforts with and use the resources of the Commission on Women in the Profession and Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession to assist in the recruitment efforts of the Division.

Raise awareness that diversity is valued and why it is valued by the Division.
  • Encourage a policy that the Division will cosponsor programs with other entities if there is a diverse panel.
  • Publish regular reports on achievements in the diversity area in Division publications/periodicals.
  • Continue on-campus programs at law schools.
  • Communicate the Division's commitment to diversity to women's and minority bar associations.

Action Plan: Specific Activities
  • Encourage the nomination of deserving under-represented lawyers for the Dorsey, Hodson, and Nelson Awards.
  • Encourage the nomination of under-represented lawyers to council positions.
  • Purchase tickets and/or advertise for 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.
  • Compile a roster of under-represented lawyers willing to appear on Division programs.
  • Encourage under-represented lawyers to submit articles to The Public Lawyer and to Pass It On.
  • Print articles promoting diversity in Pass It On.
  • Prior to each Annual Meeting, obtain a list of members who will be attending the meeting for the first time and send those members a welcome letter with an invitation to attend Division activities and social functions taking place during the meeting.
  • Consider promoting various initiatives to facilitate the ability of first-time attendees to meet new and existing members, including mentoring arrangements.