Georgia Bar Journal
GSB Vol. 14, NO. 5, Pg. 40.
Diversity Program Enters its 17th Year
GSB JounralVol. 14, NO. 5February 2009Diversity Program Enters its 17th YearMarian Cover DockerySeventeen years ago, two mavericks in the legal profession, Judge Marvin Arrington, Fulton County Superior Court, and Charles Lester Jr., retired partner of Sutherland, made their commitment to diversity a reality by forming the Georgia Diversity Program (GDP). This program successfully communicates the critical need for diversity in a legal system through steering committee meetings, its educational seminars and symposiums, pipeline programs and other resources. The program's strategies for total inclusion of diverse attorneys is reflected in the composition of committee members, the topics covered in seminars and the ongoing commitment to expand its focus and embrace and recognize the needs of other excluded groups from the profession.
Diversity has evolved to include many things. We can talk about geographical diversity, generational diversity and the diversity of thought. The reality is that in our quest to become a diverse profession, we are embracing first and foremost women, minorities and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender community. The State Bar of Georgia Diversity Program designs a strategy to successfully improve representation of all groups in the Bar by first addressing the issue through its CLE programs. Showcasing leaders in our profession of all backgrounds is necessary to impress upon those nonbelievers that diversity is not just the right thing to do, but it is also good business. The program educates its participants by bringing law school deans, professors, judges, general counsels and law partners together to explain to our members why the best teams are the diverse teams of educators, judicial panels, in-house counsel and law firm partners. With teams that include those of different races, nationalities, religions, gender and sexual orientations, we discover a diversity of ideas. With a diversity of ideas, we are more prepared to face the challenges of the global playing field.
Hearing some of the leaders of the State Bar discuss their own personal journeys during our recent "Diversity Program Conversations" confirms that we are more alike than we are different.
On Sept. 18, Justice...