Leading the Way to a Diversity-Focused CLE Requirement, 1220 COBJ, Vol. 49, No. 11 Pg. 4

PositionVol. 49, 11 [Page 4]

49 Colo.Law. 4

Leading the Way to a Diversity-Focused CLE Requirement

Vol. 49, No. 11 [Page 4]

Colorado Lawyer

December, 2020




I'm handing over this month's Message to fellow bar presidents Christine Hernandez, immediate past president of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA), and Annie Martfnez, CHBA's current president. These two leaders, along with the leadership of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado, Colorado LGBT Bar Association, Colorado Women's Bar Association, Sam Cary Bar Association, South Asian Bar Association of Colorado, and Colorado and Denver Bar Associations, comprise the Presidents Diversity Council (the Council). Council members are among the many lawyers and judges in Colorado who have agreed that Colorado is ready for a diversity-focused CLE requirement.

I'm honored to be part of the Council and have been impressed by the creativity, passion, and work ethic of this dynamic group of leaders. The Council is the brainchild of past CBA Past Presidents Charley Garcia and Loren Brown. As Loren explained in his May 2016 President's Message, it was created with the goal of "bringing about actual diversity and inclusion within the CBA and the rest of the profession."1 Since the Council first came together in November 2015, not surprisingly, it has evolved, and the collaboration among the participating bars and bar leaders has strengthened.

Particularly in light of the tragic deaths this summer of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and prior to that Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black Americans, the Council convened in July with a mission to be change agents in our legal community on the topics of racial justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. We also believe that Colorado and our nation are at a pivotal point in the discussions around these important issues, and perhaps for the first time, the demand for change and progress broadly spans race, gender, and generations.

As an outgrowth of this meeting, one of the questions the group agreed to examine was whether Colorado is ready to join the growing number of jurisdictions that have adopted a mandatory CLE requirement in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). For the reasons described below, the Council concluded that Colorado is more than ready—or "REDI," which is EDI with an "R" for racial justice at the front—for such a requirement.

—Jessica Brown, CBA president

Colorado is poised to join the growing number of states that require attorneys to gain competence in the areas of diversity and inclusion. Much of the foundation-laying for this movement stems from a 2017 American Bar Association resolution that created a model CLE rule calling for separate EDI training for all attorneys.2 If Colorado adopts the rule change currently being discussed, it will be the 11th state to implement such a requirement. The Council is currency working with the Colorado Supreme Court's CLE Advisory Committee to forward the proposal for a final vote by our Supreme Court justices. Of the 10 states that already have an EDI CLE requirement, three states (Arizona, Florida, and West Virginia) include...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT