Diversity Plan

The American Bar Association Section of Science & Technology Law enthusiastically embraces the principle of diversity.   We believe that diversity in our membership brings a variety of unique and valuable skills and perspectives to the Section and its members.   We also recognize that the Section can only expect to make progress in achieving diversity in its membership through a demonstrated commitment to achieving diversity by and in its leadership.

History

Over the years, the Section has worked diligently to increase the diversity of its membership and leadership and to increase the participation of lawyers of color, women lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities in the activities of the Section, its leadership, and its committees.   The Section’s Committee on Opportunities for Women and Minorities worked to organize outreach efforts to these lawyers, as did the Section’s Membership Committee, and these activities generally worked well for the Section.  To renew and expand the Section’s commitment to diversity, and also include sexual orientation and gender identity diversity outreach as part of its initiatives, the Section combined these committees and launched the new Membership and Diversity Committee in August 2009.   The Membership and Diversity Committee accordingly has updated the Section’s Diversity Plan, which outlines goals and action items for the Section to foster diversity in the Section’s membership and leadership and otherwise ensure full and equal participation of diverse lawyers.

Moving Forward

The goal of diversity can only be achieved with the support and participation of the Section’s leaders, committees, and members.   To achieve this goal, Section leaders, committees, and members must be educated regarding the need for, and benefits of, diversity within the Section (including in its leadership, committees, programs, and publications) and be given guidance and encouragement to:

  • ·actively recruit lawyers of color, women lawyers, lawyers with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) lawyers (collectively referred to in the Diversity Plan as “diverse lawyers”);
  • educate diverse lawyers about the benefits of Section membership, including networking, committee work, the latest developments in science and technology law, CLE programs, publications, and leadership opportunities;
  • foster an atmosphere of inclusion to facilitate and encourage the recruitment and retention of diverse lawyers as members and leaders of the Section;
  • seek the active participation of diverse speakers and authors for Section programs and publications; and
  • provide diverse lawyers with opportunities to take on leadership roles.

With this goal in mind, the Section has adopted this Diversity Plan, which includes the following long-range goals and action plan.

Long-Range Goals and Action Plan

1. INCREASE AND MAINTAIN DIVERSITY IN SECTION LEADERSHIP.

Priority 1 Items

  • ·Obtain the unequivocal support and participation of the Section leadership in implementing the Diversity Plan:
  • Provide a copy of the Diversity Plan to all Section leaders (including existing and incoming Section officers, Council members, committee chairs and vice-chairs, The SciTech Lawyer Advisory Board, and Jurimetrics Journal Board ) each bar year along with a letter from the Chair of the Section stressing the importance of participating in the ongoing implementation of the Diversity Plan.   Responsibility: Section Chair.
  • To facilitate follow-through and support on the action items identified in the Diversity Plan, provide a tailored list of responsibilities (“Diversity Plan Addendum: Leadership To-Do List”) each bar year to each individual or group identified as having “Responsibility” in the Diversity Plan.  Responsibility:   Membership and Diversity Committee, Section staff.
  • Provide resources to Section leadership with respect to diversity issues:
  • Include diversity materials in appointment letters for committee chairs and vice-chairs.  Such materials should include the Diversity Plan (and Diversity Plan Addendum: Leadership To-Do List) and any other policies and guidelines relating to diversity, a list of resources providing information for diversity on programs and publications, and stated expectations related to diversity.   In compiling these materials, collaborate with the ABA Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity. [1]   Responsibility: Section staff, Membership and Diversity Committee.
  • Periodically update the above-mentioned diversity resource materials. Responsibility: Section staff, Membership and Diversity Committee.
  • Include diversity materials in appointment letters for committee chairs and vice-chairs.  Such materials should include the Diversity Plan (and Diversity Plan Addendum: Leadership To-Do List) and any other policies and guidelines relating to diversity, a list of resources providing information for diversity on programs and publications, and stated expectations related to diversity.   In compiling these materials, collaborate with the ABA Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity. [1]   Responsibility: Section staff, Membership and Diversity Committee.
  • Periodically update the above-mentioned diversity resource materials. Responsibility: Section staff, Membership and Diversity Committee.
  • Provide leadership guidance to members (including diverse lawyers who may not otherwise be in Section leadership positions), such as through a conference call or an article discussing ways to develop and sharpen networking and leadership skills.  Responsibility: Membership and Diversity Committee.
    • Monitor and recognize Section diversity activities/progress:
  • Report diversity initiative results using measurable language to the Section Council biannually (in conjunction with the ABA Midyear and Annual Meetings), including the Section’s results in the ABA Goal III Report, which measures progress toward diversity by the ABA and its individual entities. (Note that disability and LGBT categories are measured via confidential self-reporting options.)  Responsibility: Membership and Diversity Committee.
  • Include a presentation at the ABA Annual Meeting Section Luncheon recognizing Section efforts to increase diversity.  Responsibility: Membership and Diversity Committee.
  • Review committee status reports and follow-up with individual committee chairs and vice-chairs and other Section leaders to offer assistance in meeting diversity expectations.  Responsibility: Membership and Diversity Committee, Division Chairs.
  • Annually review the Diversity Plan and assess which initiatives are working and which are not (and determine why those are not working); incorporate new ideas; and respond to then existing circumstances.  Responsibility: Membership and Diversity Committee.
  • Every five years, or as circumstances warrant, report recommended changes to the Diversity Plan to, and seek approval from, the Section officers and Section Council (e.g., at the ABA Annual Meeting).  Responsibility: Membership and Diversity Committee.
  • At the time of updating the Diversity Plan, circulate the Diversity Plan to the ABA Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, ABA Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law, ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, and ABA Commission on Women in the Profession.  Responsibility: Section staff.
  • Periodically assess the diversity plans of other entities that are associated with the American Bar Association, including by establishing liaison relationships to obtain new ideas.  Responsibility: Membership and Diversity Committee, Section staff.

Priority 2 Items

  • Endeavor to choose a Section Nominating Committee whose composition reflects the Section's diversity goals, which in turn should be reflected in the appointments made by the Section Nominating Committee.   Responsibility: Section officers, Section Nominating Committee, Section Council.
  • Enhance and maintain diversity of the Section leadership by including (in the 2009-2010 bar year) the Diversity Plan’s three long-range diversity goals (i.e., increase and maintain diversity in Section leadership, increase diversity in Section membership, and raise awareness that diversity is valued and why).  Responsibility: Section Secretary

2. INCREASE DIVERSITY IN SECTION MEMBERSHIP.

Priority 1 Items

  • Foster a spirit of inclusion in all of the Section’s activities:
  • Invite any non-members to become members at the conclusion of each committee meeting.  Responsibility: committee chairs.
  • Advertise in all materials for the ABA Annual Meeting that non-committee members are welcome to attend committee meetings.  Responsibility: Section staff.
  • Encourage diverse lawyers to attend the Section’s welcome reception during the ABA Annual Meeting.   Responsibility: Membership and Diversity Committee , Section staff.
  •  Hold all Section activities, including meetings, CLE programs, and social events, in facilities that are ADA-compliant and otherwise inclusive of diverse lawyers.   Responsibility: Section staff .
  • Explore ways to make the Section website and other Section content (including programs and publications) accessible and user-friendly to disabled website visitors.   Responsibility: Section staff .
  • Strongly encourage and actively seek diverse panels in all CLE sessions and committee programming and diverse participation in all Section publications.  (Note: ABA diversity entities, state, local, and minority bar associations are an excellent resource.)   Responsibility: Program Committee, Teleconference Coordinating Committee, Committee Chairs, Division Chairs, Book Publishing Board, Jurimetrics Journal Board, and The SciTech Lawyer Advisory Board.
  • Affirmatively reach out to the leadership of the most significant minority bars and seek to establish partnerships with them, so that they and their members look to the Section as a key source for science/technology law knowledge (especially where they lack critical mass in these areas), and so that their members are encouraged to join the Section.  Responsibility : Division Chairs.
  • Research existing efforts with the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), and other diversity-focused associations and follow up to see if the Section can participate in their programs focused on diverse lawyers.  Responsibility: Section staff.
  • Coordinate efforts with and use the resources of the ABA Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, ABA Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law, ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, and external diversity-focused associations to assist in the recruitment efforts of the Section:
  • Establish a Section Liaison to the ABA Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, ABA Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law, ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, and external diversity-focused associations.  Responsibility: Section Chair.
  • Require the Section Liaisons to report at the Section Council meetings regarding: (1) current developments and initiatives undertaken by those organizations; and (2) steps taken by the other ABA sections to increase diversity.  Responsibility: Membership and Diversity Committee, Section staff, Section Liaisons.
  • Encourage the Section Liaisons to attend the Minority Caucus sponsored by the ABA Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, and the Women’s Caucus Meeting sponsored by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, at the ABA Midyear and Annual Meetings.  Responsibility: Membership and Diversity Committee, Section staff, Section Liaisons.
  • Sponsor joint programs, promotions, and membership drives with the ABA Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, ABA Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law, ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, and ABA Commission on Women in the Profession.  Responsibility: Division Chairs, Membership and Diversity Committee ; Section officers.

Priority 2 Items

  • Gain feedback (with a diversity focus) through program evaluation forms to identify ways the Section can enhance program attendees’ and participants’ experience.  Responsibility: Section staff .
  • Secure or develop recruitment/retention materials with a focus on diverse lawyers.   Responsibility: Membership and Diversity Committee.
  • Sponsor programming with other diversity groups, such as at the spring and/or fall meetings of the ABA’s Minority Counsel Program.  Responsibility: Division Chairs, Program Committee, Membership and Diversity Committee.

3.         RAISE AWARENESS THAT DIVERSITY IS VALUED AND WHY.

Priority 1 Items

  • Encourage a policy that the Section co-sponsor programs with other Sections or Divisions only if steps are taken to assure there is a diverse panel.  Responsibility: Section officers.
  • Encourage and recognize contributions by diverse lawyers in the Section’s programs and publications.
  • Include a section in the speaker and author release forms so that speakers and authors may self-identify their race and ethnicity, gender, disability, and sexual orientation; the form should indicate the purpose for collecting such information and indicate that providing such information is voluntary.   Responsibility: Section staff.
  • Ensure diversity in Section programs and publications (including by reviewing completed speaker and author release forms).  Responsibility: Program Committee, Teleconference Coordinating Committee, Division Chairs, Book Publishing Board, Jurimetrics Journal Board, and The SciTech Lawyer Advisory Board.

Priority 2 Items

  • Create and regularly update the Membership and Diversity Committee homepage and request that other relevant websites (e.g., ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, National Bar Association, National Native American Bar Association, Hispanic National Bar Association, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association) link to the Membership and Diversity Committee’s website.  Add links to these organizations to the Section’s website.   Responsibility: Membership and Diversity Committee, Section staff.
  • Include regular reports in The SciTech Lawyer and other appropriate venues regarding achievements in the Section’s diversity efforts .   Responsibility: Membership and Diversity Committee, Section staff.
  • Include photos acknowledging diversity of membership in membership materials.  Responsibility: Membership and Diversity Committee, Section staff.

The Section officers and Council members have approved this Diversity Plan on February 5, 2010, Orlando, FL, at the 2010 ABA Midyear Meeting.



[1] Presidential Advisory Council on Diversity in the Profession, Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, and Council on Racial and Ethnic Justice.