Goal IX Newsletter

Summer 2000, Volume 6, Number 3

Same Commitment - Quality Program to Service Lawyers of Color by: Charisse R. Lillie, Commission Chair

The ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession’s Goal IX newsletter provides regular updates to you regarding programs that the Commission sponsors to advance ABA’s Goal IX—to create full and equal participation in the legal profession by racial and ethnic minority lawyers, women lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities. We are gratified that ABA President Martha Barnett plans to keep the ABA focused on the issue of diversity in the legal profession during her administration.

Charisse Lillie

At the 2000 Annual Meeting, which was held in New York and London in July, the fruits of former President William Paul’s efforts to highlight the importance of diversity in the legal profession were clearly evident. In addition to the Commission programs focusing on multicultural issues in the profession and outreach to multicultural bar associations, the Commission co-sponsored almost 20 programs that had diversity as a component of the program and were comprised of culturally diverse panels of presenters.

In New York, the Commission held meetings with the leaders of the Hispanic National Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the Native American Bar Association, and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. We discussed common issues and concerns, and shared ideas about how the ABA can continue to be more supportive of our individual and collective missions

Different Country, Same Issues
In London, we met leaders of the Bar— of African, Caribbean, Asian, and White ancestry—who are concerned with issues of racial diversity in the British Bar. It was amazing to discuss the issues of admission to law school, lack of diversity among the ranks of solicitors and barristers, and the challenges of hiring and retention in law firms on the international level. The historical and social circumstances differ, but the basic issues are the same. The Commission has plans to keep open our lines of communication and share information and pro-gramming with lawyers in London.

The Annual Meeting also served as the venue for the official launch of our new name: Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. As our name change ushers in a new era, we will build on the Commission’s 14 years of experience in promoting diversity in the profession and servicing lawyers of color.

Our Annual Meeting programming included two other debuts. The updated version of the report Miles to Go 2000: Progress of Minorities in the Legal Profession was released at the Presidential Showcase program “Miles to Go: The Next Step.” And, in a standing-room only Presidential Showcase program, a panel of distinguished women lawyers and writers premiered the Multicultural Women Attorneys Network book Dear Sisters, Dear Daughters: Words of Wisdom from Multicultural Women Attorneys Who’ve Been There and Done That. You must get your copies of these important, compelling publications today. We also encourage you to help the Commission take these publications to your community. For example, use Miles to Go as a catalyst for a local forum on diversity in the legal profession. Or, host an interactive session or booksigning party in your hometown with multicultural women lawyers who contributed to Dear Sisters, Dear Daughters.

Another recent Commission program continues to generate excitement and interest. The National Retention Summit, which the Commission hosted this past April, has prompted development of a video training and educational package on this hot topic. The product, “Raising the Bar: A Complete Multi-Media Program on Diversity and Retention in the Legal Profession,” is scheduled for release this October.

Visit the Commission’s Website for a calendar of upcoming events that focus on diversity in the legal profession. We know that there are awesome demands on your time. But we urge you to make some time to participate in ABA programs and initiatives that will promote greater diversity in the legal profession.


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