Diversity in the Legal Profession
Since 2019, the California State Bar Association has collected data and published a report documenting diversity in the state's legal profession. The "Report Card" analyzes attorney diversity using demographic characteristics that include race/ethnicity, gender and transgender identity, sexual orientation/identity, attorneys with disabilities, and veteran status.
The 2023 Report Card can be found here: https://publications.calbar.ca.gov/2022-diversity-report-card/
According to this year's Report Card, the profession has become increasingly diverse in recent decades. WIth the addition of new attorneys, today's Bar better reflects California’s varied demographics than ever before. The Report Card points out, however, that there is significant room for improvement and makes a call to action with strategies to help employers and attorneys advance an inclusive workplace.
On January 24, 2023, EKO and the Santa Clara Law Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center hosted a discussion on the observations in the State Bar's Report Card and its recommendations. Speakers included Lisa Chavez and Elizabeth Hom of the State Bar and Zoë Polk of the East Bay Community Law Center. Deborah Moss-West of the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center moderated the panel.
The event was free to all, held virtually, and California lawyers in attendance were eligible to receive 1 hour of CLE credit toward the State Bar's Elimination of Bias requirement. Additional materials for the program included:
An article by former Donald Polden, Dean Emeritus of Santa Clara Law, and Jenna Anderson, Editor-in-chief of the Santa Clara Law Review, discussing implicit bias in the legal profession, available here: https://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2928&context=lawreview
The California State Bar's DEI Leadership Seal Program, available here: https://www.calbar.ca.gov/About-Us/Our-Mission/Promoting-Diversity-Equity-and-Inclusion/DEI-Leadership-Seal-Program
EKO is dedicated to increased diversity in the legal profession and elimination of bias both in the workplace and in our community at large. Since 2020, the firm's first year, we have partnered with various organizations to present and participate in a series of panel discussions on recognizing and combating bias. Past presentations include:
Recognizing Bias in the Civil Justice System
Real Action to Identify and Eliminate Bias
Sustained Action Addressing Bias in the Civil Justice System
This post was originally posted on January 16, 2023, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is our country's only national holiday celebrating the life and legacy of an American who was never president. We encourage others in the legal community to follow the example set by Dr. King and take action for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion.