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News & Press: CBA

CBA Hosts Sold Out Second Annual Diversity & Inclusion Summit

Friday, November 3, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Connecticut Bar Association
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On October 25, members of the Connecticut Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion Summit Committee gathered with other leaders in the legal profession at Quinnipiac University School of Law for the second annual Connecticut Diversity & Inclusion Summit: The Collaborative Blueprint, to empower them with tools to make Connecticut a more diverse and inclusive bar.

 

Statistics show that the legal profession faces unique challenges in terms of diversity and inclusion. “The challenge is…[t]he system we rely on in admitting, hiring, and sponsoring attorneys relies on an assumption that everything is equal, when we know it is not,” stated CBA President and Diversity and Inclusion Committee Co-chair Karen DeMeola.

 

At this sold out event, through a workshop and discussions, attendees learned how implicit bias impacts the workplace and the methods used toward a successful change, new research from Dr. Arin Reeves of Nextions on how organizations should rethink diversity and inclusion training, and gained the tools needed to create a concrete training plan to support diversity and inclusion within their organizations.

 

“As a result of the summit, the pledge and plan, and the work of law firms, in-house departments, government law departments, law schools, Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity, the Connecticut Bar Foundation, the affinity bars, and so many others, I believe Connecticut is on its way to becoming a leader in diversity and inclusion,” stated CBA Immediate Past President Monte E. Frank.

 

The event’s keynote speaker, Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of the Association of Corporate Counsel in Washington, DC, James Merklinger, discussed biases regarding disabilities in the legal profession illustrated by his own experiences with Tourette Syndrome, sharing that his tics from this disorder have gotten him thrown off a plane and fired.

 

Attendees also participated in the workshop, “An Enigma? Why Unlocking Diversity and Inclusion Training Starts with Throwing Away Everything You Think You Knew About It,” with Dr. Arin Reeves, a leading researcher, author, and advisor in the fields of diversity and inclusion. The innovative workshop gave attendees tools for their organizations to help them move toward measurable success in their diversity and inclusion goals.

 

Cecil J. Thomas of Greater Hartford Legal Aid and Diversity and Inclusion Committee Co-chair, presented the goals of the Connecticut Bar Association’s collaborative pledge and plan, and discussed recent progress from last year with the signatories of the pledge. The Connecticut Legal Community’s Diversity & Inclusion Pledge & Plan reflects a reaffirmation of the legal profession’s commitment to approaching diversity and inclusion strategically, collaboratively, and with accountability.

 

“We are proud of the work of our signatory organizations as they work through this multiyear process, supported by the Connecticut Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and look forward to more positive progress in the years ahead. We welcome other Connecticut legal organizations to sign the pledge, and to join us in this important effort,” stated Cecil Thomas.

In 2016, the CBA began an initiative to enhance diversity and inclusion in the Connecticut bar. As part of facilitating this effort, the CBA solicits signatories for a collective pledge reflecting the commitment of Connecticut legal organizations to create more diverse and inclusive environments and for a collaborative plan to achieve this goal. Twenty-seven organizations have currently signed onto the Connecticut Legal Community’s Diversity & Inclusion Pledge & Plan. More information can be found at ctbar.org/PledgeAndPlan.

 

 CBA President Karen DeMeola addressing the event's attendees.  Dr. Arin Reeves presenting her new research on how organizations
should rethink diversity and inclusion training.
   


 (L to R) Diversity and Inclusion Summit Committee member Alix Simonetti, Diversity and Inclusion Summit Committee member Neeta Vatti, Diversity and Inclusion Summit Committee Chair Christine Jean-Louis, event speaker Dr. Arin Reeves of Nextions, President Karen DeMeola, Diversity and Inclusion Summit Committee member Cheri Phoenix-Sharpe, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Co-chair Cecil Thomas, Immediate Past President Monte E. Frank, and President-elect Jonathan Shapiro. Retired State Supreme Court Justice Lubbie Harper, Jr.
and Immediate Past President Monte E. Frank
interacting during the event workshop.





 

 Want to see more photos? Visit our Facebook page to view our 2017 Diversity & Inclusion Summit: The Collaborative Blueprint photo album!