President’s Message, 0421 UTBJ, Vol. 34 No. 2. 13

AuthorBy Heather Farnsworth
PositionVol. 34 2 Pg. 13

President’s Message

Vol. 34 No. 2 Pg. 13

Utah Bar Journal

April, 2021

March, 2021

We’ve Come A (Little) Way, Baby.

By Heather Farnsworth

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity: These may seem like the latest “corporate buzz words” but in reality, the Utah State Bar has been formally dedicated to improving diversity among its Board of Bar Commissioners and among bar membership for decades. This began with creating ex-officio positions on the Board of Bar Commissioners for the Utah Minority Bar in 1992 and Women Lawyers of Utah in 1993,[1] and more formally by adopting the Utah State Bar Statement on Diversity and Inclusion on December 2, 2011. The statement is as follows: The Bar values engaging all persons fully, including persons of different ages, disabilities, economic status, ethnicities, genders, geographic regions, national origins, sexual orientations, practice settings and areas, and races and religions. Inclusion is critical to the success of the Bar, the legal profession, and the judicial system. The Bar shall strive to:

1. Increase members’ awareness of implicit and explicit biases and their impact on people, the workplace, and the profession;

2. Make Bar services and activities open, available, and accessible to all members;

3. Support the efforts of all members in reaching their highest professional potential;

4. Reach out to all members to welcome them to Bar activities, committees, and sections; and 5. Promote a culture that values all members of the legal profession and the judicial system.

Utah State Bar Statement on Diversity and Inclusion, Utah State Bar (Dec. 2, 2011), https://www.utahbar.org/bar-operations/ #policies. Diversity, in this policy, relates to gender, race, and sexual orientation as one might expect, but also reflects a commitment of the Bar to promote diversity with respect to geographic regions, practice settings, etc. This is reflected in practice as the Bar strives to include members from each Division and from a variety of practice areas when forming committees or evaluating awards, and so on.

While diversity is important, simply giving someone a seat at the table is not enough. In order to promote inclusion and to truly benefit from diversity, we must encourage and promote diverse candidates to fully participate. Verna Myers explains it best, “Diversity is about who is represented in the organization, whereas inclusion speaks more to who is respected, expected and integrated into an institution.” Diversity and Inclusion, the Verna Myers Company, available at https://www.vernamyers.com/diversity-training/ (last visited Feb. 16, 2021). She further describes it in these terms: “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” Id.

At the time the Bar’s policy for Diversity and Inclusion was adopted, the Board of Bar Commissioners included twenty-one...

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