Goal IX Newsletter

Fall 2000, Volume 6, Number 4

Bar Association Spotlight - A Start-Up & Seasoned Approach to Diversity

St. Petersburg, Florida

In St. Petersburg, Florida, diversity is now more than a politically correct buzzword. Eric Ludin, president of the St. Petersburg Bar Association, has made diversity one of the cornerstones of his administration. He initiated the association’s first Diversity Committee, with the charge to increase minority membership in the St. Petersburg bar. He appointed as its chair Jacqueline Gayle, the director of diversity programs at Danka Office Imaging Company.

One of the committee’s early accomplishments was to secure a prominent minority lawyer as a speaker for a bar program. Evett L. Simmons, president of the National Bar Association was the featured speaker at the St. Petersburg Bar Association’s September Membership Meeting. Also at that meeting, the Diversity Committee announced the bar’s new diversity scholarship. It will be awarded annually, starting in 2001, to a minority student attending the Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg. One of the committee’s objectives is to encourage minority students to practice law in the St. Petersburg area after they graduate and to join the St. Petersburg bar.

For more information on the Diversity Committee, contact Jacqueline Gayle or Eric Ludin at the St. Petersburg Bar Association 727.823.7474 or visit its Website at www.stpetebar.com.

St. Louis, Missouri

In St. Louis, Missouri, significant diversity initiatives for the legal profession have been on the agenda for many years. One of the most successful programs launched by the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL) has been the St. Louis Internship Program, which provides inner-city high school students with summer internships and much more. In 1992, when BAMSL and several other local legal organizations created the program, 52 students participated as law firm interns. Since then, it has expanded to a year-round program consisting of paid summer internships, educational opportunities, and post-secondary education planning assistance. "The program has improved diversity throughout St. Louis, in the legal profession and many other disciplines," said Ken Kline, BAMSL executive director. More than 1,500 students have participated in the program since 1992, and nearly 98 percent of the participants have gone on to college or a university.

For more information on the St. Louis Internship Program, contact its director, Leslie Bonner, at 314.621.4995. For more information on other BAMSL diversity initiatives, visit its Website at www.bamsl.org.

We know that many other mainstream and specialty bars are working to promote diversity in the profession. We want to know who you are, where you are, and what you are doing. See the adjacent "Calling All Minority Bar Associations" box for more information on the Commission’s development of a database of minority bars and minority committees within mainstream bars.


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