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June 12, 2014 Diversity & Inclusion

Supporting the Careers of Minority Attorneys

The Minority Trial Lawyer is your resource for information, training, mentoring, and professional and personal development.

By Joseph M. Hanna

The Minority Trial Lawyer (MTL) committee plays an important role within the ABA’s Section of Litigation. Our goal is to support the career success of minority attorneys by serving as a resource for litigation and business development strategies and as a network for the sharing of experiences and referrals. We aim to offer a practical and useful resource for diverse attorneys at all points in their career, ranging from young associates to senior partners and from in-house counsel to members of our judiciary. The committee also aims to contribute to minority communities by facilitating discussion of the impact of race on the law and vice versa, addressing issues of racial bias in the courts and the profession and promoting programs to prepare minority students—from high school through law school—for careers in the law.

As a committee, we are halfway through a very productive 2014. The MTL has always distinguished itself by the unique composition of its members. By definition we members are characterized by our inherent diversity. We are litigators, of course, but aside from that our members are individuals of every race, national origin, religion, age, gender, and sexual orientation.

We practice in every area of the law in large-, small-, and medium-sized firms, in government and in-house positions, across the country, and around the world. Our interests and lifestyles are broad and varied. This diversity is our strength, and this strength builds success in our personal and professional lives. Our committee allows us the opportunity to build, nurture, and benefit from its inherent strength.

This year, the MTL is focusing on bringing value to our membership. We have published insightful content for our members, held informative roundtable discussions, and continued to record Sound Advice pieces to help better the careers of our colleagues. The MTL continues to build and promote the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and in helping our members forge commercially significant relationships. The Section of Litigation has always recognized the MTL’s value as a pipeline for leadership. MTL members and alumni populate every level of the leadership ranks of the Section of Litigation, and the committee’s resources and contacts provide an exceptional platform for success.

One of the most important values that we offer to our membership is our award-winning “Ask a Mentor” column. The column, a regular part of the quarterly newsletter, provides members of the Section of Litigation with the opportunity to seek advice from more experienced mentors in various fields on topics that would be beneficial to their everyday lives as minority litigators. These topics are varied, offering insight on how to succeed in a large law firm, advice on dressing for an interview, ways to develop business, and tips on trying cases before a jury.

In April, the MTL cosponsored a roundtable discussion with the Young Advocate Committee and LGBT Committee, entitled “Surviving and Thriving: Success Tips for Diverse Litigators” (clicking will open an MP3 file). We focused our discussion on topics of interest to young, diverse lawyers. The speakers from the panel have followed up and discussed specific issues that were brought up on the call with our participants, with the goal of mentoring them.

Participation of our members is critical to our committee’s success and so, as we plan and prepare events for the rest of 2014, we encourage all of our members to actively participate in committee events, submit articles for our newsletter and web page, or consider volunteering for subcommittee chair positions. There are many ways to get involved.

 MTL is your resource for information, training, mentoring, and professional and personal development.

Copyright © 2014, American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association, the Section of Litigation, this committee, or the employer(s) of the author(s).