CLA has a three-pronged approach to our work on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. We are working towards a diverse and inclusive CLA professional team with the cultural competency to work across lines of difference among our membership, one another and members of the profession and public with whom the team interacts. A major focus of the 2019 DEI committee’s work has been to improve the diversity of our volunteer leadership ranks and craft policies in support of diverse continuing legal education programming that were adopted by the Board of Representatives. Finally, we are mindful of the significant gaps between the diversity of California’s population and the lack of diversity in the legal profession—particularly at its highest ranks. Towards that end, we are coalescing around a set of long-term, medium-term and short-term interventions to encourage young people from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue careers in the law and to support law students and recent law school graduates in succeeding in their chosen profession. Specific activities and accomplishments in this arena include:
- Numerous meetings with key stakeholders to identify gaps and consider CLA’s role;
- Creation of multiple DEI committees to address both necessary policy and volunteer opportunities for lawyers;
- Adoption of an Appointments Policy that requires consideration of diversity factors in all leadership and volunteer bodies of the association;
- Development of a model policy regarding diversity on CLE panels;
- Multiple leadership trainings and briefings on how to meet CLA’s diversity objectives, the critical need to diversify the profession and the State Bar demographic data;
- Planning educational programming that includes introducing the revised Judicial Council’s Judicial Diversity Toolkit and tactics to address implicit bias in hiring and mentoring; and
- Calls with bar leaders around the state on model diversity programs.