Next time you are in a courtroom waiting for your case to be called, look around and ask yourself how many “diverse” attorneys you see. Then reflect on how many of the judges you appear before in a given week are diverse. And when you think of diversity -- expand your vision to include a broader definition than perhaps traditionally attributed to diversity -- to include not only the broad categories of women and minorities, but also people with disabilities, sexual orientation and gender identity .
The question presented: is the ISBA truly committed to diversity in the legal profession? If you are an ISBA member, the answer is yes. Next question: Are you working to help diversify the legal profession? Answer is yes, you can be by joining us in the Law & Leadership Institute. The ISBA has demonstrated its commitment to diversifying the legal profession by creating the LLI and now supporting the second annual Law and Leadership Institute. The three-week pipeline program will have summer teams/programs/camps in Chicago and at SIU Carbondale. The ISBA has now partnered with the Just the Beginning Foundation who has a proven track record of success in pipeline activities youth law and leadership programs.
Imagine diverse freshman and sophomore high school students preparing for mock trial arguments, taking lecture notes from distinguished professors, lawyers and judges, visiting local law firms to talk with lawyers about their legal practice, and to meet with criminal and civil judges in their courtrooms. And, of course, the list of judges volunteering to participate grows every day as we get the word out to the community. We are even working on an elected officials and leaders tour for our Chicago program.
I am proud to be a member of a wonderful team of ISBA lawyers and judges investing directly in the future of the legal profession in Illinois. I hope I can count on you to join our effort through your financial support and/or volunteering your time to this remarkable ISBA undertaking. For more information, visit the ISBA site at < or JTBF at < where you will find specifics about the program and available volunteer opportunities.
Thank you for your commitment to the legal profession. ■