BAR NEWS HIGHLIGHT
BY PATRICIA M. JARZOBSKI
“Bar associations are critical vehicles for advancing diversity and inclusivity because we help shape the norms of our profession.”
—ABA, “Diversity in the Legal Profession: The Next Steps” (2010)
Building bridges and breaking down barriers. Reimagining how we evolve the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations to be more diverse and inclusive. Creating tools to succeed. Having courageous conversations. These are the areas the new CBA and DBA Joint Diversity and Inclusivity Steering Committee is focusing on as the team charged with implementing the bar associations’ diversity and inclusivity goals.
CBA Past President Dick Gast and DBA Past President Franz Hardy launched this committee in 2018 at the urging of CBA/DBA Executive Director Patrick Flaherty. Patrick recognized the alignment of the right people in the right places at the right time to improve diversity and inclusivity within the bar associations.
Establishing a Commitment to Diversity
In 2016, the CBA and DBA each formally adopted diversity and inclusivity as a goal and a core value in their respective strategic plans. The CBA and DBA recognize a responsibility to strengthen our commitment to diversity and inclusivity. When bar associations prioritize diversity, it institutionalizes those critical values. When bar associations do not prioritize diversity, it creates an environment that tends to exclude underrepresented groups. In the United States, 79% of all voluntary state bar associations and 76% of all mandatory statewide bar associations already have a diversity and inclusivity committee. There’s no time like the present to reimagine diversity and inclusivity within the CBA and DBA.
The Diversity and Inclusivity Steering Committee is focused on governance, leadership, and membership engagement. We have many well-intentioned leaders who need better tools to help make their groups more diverse and inclusive. On the management side, Patrick Flaherty is making great strides in advancing diversity and inclusivity with bar operations and staff.
Our goal is to create a culture where everyone can thrive, be valued, be heard, lead, and engage meaningfully within the CBA and DBA communities. Authentic diversity and inclusivity...