March 04, 2021

2020-2021 Diversity and Inclusion Activities

21-Day Racial Equity and Habit Building Challenge© 

Beginning in September, the PCL Section shared resources and an opportunity for our members to participate in a 21-Day Racial Equity and Habit Building Challenge© (the “21- Day Challenge). Through this initiative, participants were invited to complete a syllabus of short daily assignments (typically taking 15 – 30 minutes) over 21 consecutive days. The syllabus, included content curated by our Diversity Committee, included readings focused on the Black American experience, Black history, identity and culture, and the experience of anti-Black racism in America. The syllabus also included assignments that focused on the unique experience of Black lawyers in America, as well as assignments that explored how lawyers of all races can and must share in the work of bringing greater racial equity to the legal profession.

21-Day Racial Equity and Habit Building Challenge© reading circles were facilitated among interested PCL participants to encourage them to check in weekly on the syllabus and provide an opportunity to discuss it.

Virtual Discussion and Q&A Session on Executive Order 13950, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government - The PCL Section hosted a discussion and Q&A session with Craig Leen, Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) at the U.S. Department of Labor on President Trump’s Executive Order 13950, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”

Executive Order 13950 prohibits federal agencies, federal contractors, and federal grant recipients from providing workplace training to their employees that “inculcates” any form of blame-focused training such as race or sex scapegoating or stereotyping. Given the impact of EO 13950 on the government contracting community, Director Leen provided a critical overview of the EO and addressed questions and concerns regarding its implications for existing and planned workplace diversity and anti-bias training.

Pathways to Leadership in the PCL Section Program – The Section, eager to consider newer and diverse members among the leadership ranks, hosted a virtual Pathways to PCL Leadership informational session on the Section’s leadership appointment and nomination process for the 2021 - 2022 bar year outlining all the opportunities available at every level of the Section, beginning with committee vice-chair and committee co-chair positions, up to the Section Council and Officer level.

PCL Section Scholarship Program - The PCL Section Scholarship Program seeks to address barriers to active participation in the Section actively seek participation of lawyers who are underrepresented in the Section, with a particular focus on lawyers of color, young lawyers, and federal, state, and local government lawyers.

The PCL Section awards Section conference scholarships to diverse individuals to facilitate their attendance and participation at the Section educational conferences and Council meetings. The purpose of the scholarship is to assist members in engaging more actively in the Section and to mentor/encourage their development in leadership positions. In addition to the funding assistance, the Scholarship opportunities assist the recipients in becoming involved in one or more Section committees and committee project; make at least one substantive presentation or contribution related to public contract law; provide the Section feedback on the scholarship experience; and serve as a resource to future scholarship recipients.

Annual Careers in Government Contracting Program - The Section’s Diversity Committee and Young Lawyers Committee hosts an annual panel discussion on careers in government contracting, including diverse panelists from diverse backgrounds. The program is geared toward law students interested in learning about government contracting, as well as lawyers seeking to transition into the public contract arena.

PCL Section Member Spotlight - The Section launched a PCL Section Member Spotlight feature to introduce and focus attention on our members and their work within our Section – beginning with the Section’s diversity scholarship recipients, young lawyers, and other diverse members. Members Spotlights are featured in the Section’s weekly e-news, the PCL Section homepage and membership page and PCL social media. Diversity Presentations at PCL Council Meetings – The Section’s Diversity Committee outlines and presents diversity-related recommendations and action items at the Section Council meetings (Fall, Midyear, Annual).

PCL Section and National Bar Association Government Procurement Law Section Speed Networking Event – The Section’s Diversity and Young Lawyers Committee jointly hosted a virtual speed networking event to provide an opportunity for ABA and NBA Section members working in the government contracts space to get to know each other and learn more about their respective practices and professional interests through informal virtual speed networking.

Additionally, in recognition of Black History Month, the event began with a brief history of the NBA and an overview of the NBA's Government Procurement Law Section. Registrants were randomly paired for four (4) virtual 5-minute speed networking sessions and a list of conversation starters was provided to help guide the networking sessions.

Outreach to Diverse Law Schools – The PCL Section has identified the target of reaching out and educating on opportunities in public contracting to a larger pool of law schools with the aim of increasing diversity in our section. Law schools targeted include in particular Howard Law School.

Appointments Process - The PCL Section leaders, from Chair on down, consistently seek diverse representation at the leadership and committee chair levels, as well as in all programming. Diversity of all types is considered and encouraged throughout this processes and activities.