We’ve Come A (Little) Way, Baby.
By Heather Farnsworth
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. 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...