During the past several years, the ISBA has invested considerable time and effort to increase the diversity of our Association. We have published a report card noting the lack of diversity within our ranks; restructured the diversity-related committees; recognized outstanding contributions to society through the establishment of a diversity leadership award; and developed a pipeline program, the Law and Leadership Institute, with high school students to increase the diversity of our profession as a whole.
2010-2011 was the first year of appointments to ISBA committees and section councils of the Diversity Leadership Fellows program. This program is designed to identify promising attorneys of diverse background who are not currently members of the ISBA and acclimate them to the ISBA under the mentoring of established leaders within the various section councils and standing committees within the association, such as section and committee officers, assembly members and Board of Governors candidates.
We are looking for attorneys who show leadership potential and would add to the diversity of our section councils and committees—whether because of race, gender, sexual orientation, geographic location, practice area, or other background or experiences. Fellow candidates may be nominated by ISBA members or self-nominate.
Our goal is to have a list of nominees by September 1 so President-elect Richard Felice can appoint Fellows for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. We encourage you to submit nominations by June 30 to: Rachel McDermott, Section and Committee Staff Liaison, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the following information about the nominee: name, contact information, place of employment, type of practice, year of admission, and a brief description of the nominee’s leadership potential and how you think they would add to the diversity of the ISBA.
Program for 2014-2016:
Program Purpose: The purpose of the Diversity Leadership Fellows Program is to increase diversity and meaningful inclusion in the active membership of the ISBA and its section councils and committees; to give further emphasis to ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion to the ISBA; and to ultimately develop a diverse group of future leaders of the ISBA. These goals will be achieved by introducing new members (especially young lawyers and under-represented groups) to the work, structure, and policies of the ISBA. This program is intended to complement the newly instituted program of appointive “underrepresented” seats on the Board of Governors.
I. Coordinating Illinois State Bar Association Committee
The Diversity Leadership Council will be the association group that coordinates the two-year Fellows Program.
II. Previous Diversity Fellows
The Fellows that were appointed prior to July 2014 will serve as resources to and will participate in the training of new Fellows, under the direction of the Diversity Leadership Council.
III. Selection of New Fellows
There will be three new Fellows selected for this two-year program.
• A nomination process will be conducted to select the new Fellows. Candidate nominations will come from attorneys who recognize leadership potential in a candidate. Self-nominations are also encouraged in this selection process. Nominations require the submission of the candidate’s name, place of employment, type of practice, year of bar admission, and a brief description of the candidate’s leadership potential.
• A candidate must be a non-member of the ISBA for at least three fiscal years.
• It is envisioned that the nomination class be a group of diverse attorneys, emphasizing candidates who are lawyers who have practiced less than 10 years and are part of an under-represented group. Under-represented groups include women, lawyers with disabilities, and lawyers from under-represented racial, ethnic, sexual orientation or gender identity groups.
• The ISBA President-elect, based on the recommendations of the Diversity Leadership Council, will select three candidates from the nomination class to serve as Fellows for two years.
V. First Year as Fellow
During the first year of the program, the Diversity Leadership Council will conduct orientation for the new Fellows. The orientation will allow the Fellows to begin to understand the work, structure, and policies of the ISBA. Fellows will continue to attend Diversity Leadership Council meetings throughout their fellowship to further their education and involvement in the ISBA. Fellows will be given opportunities to attend Board of Governors and Assembly meetings, networking events, Mid-Year and Annual meetings, and other events that are deemed by the Diversity Leadership Council to be appropriate for their advancement.
Each Fellow will be assigned a first year mentor from the membership of the Diversity Leadership Council, as approved by the Fellows Program Chair. The Fellow and first year mentor should communicate at least once every 30-45 days and meet in person on a quarterly basis. The Fellows Program Chair should oversee the mentors and ensure they receive basic training regarding mentoring professionals, professional development and diversity. The Fellows Program Chair should also monitor mentor/Fellow contact to facilitate the growth of that relationship.
In anticipation of the second year, each Fellow should select three committees or councils on which to work. The Fellow should attend at least one of each of the selected committee or council meetings to get an understanding of each committee’s work. The first year mentor will facilitate an introduction of the Fellow to a contact/liaison on the Fellow’s selected committees with whom the Fellow will interact.
The Fellows Program Chair will periodically meet with each Fellow to discuss committee activities, the program in general, and other ISBA activities and experiences.
V. Second Year as Fellow
At the beginning of the second year, Fellows will request appointment to a section council or committee. The appointment will be reviewed and approved by the ISBA President-elect. Fellows will have full voting rights during meetings and will be expected to fully participate in the work of the section council or committee.
Each Fellow will be assigned a second year mentor from among the membership of the Fellow’s selected section council or committee, as approved by the Fellows Program Chair. The Fellow and second year mentor should communicate at least once every 30-45 days and meet in person at least once every six months. The Fellows Program Chair should oversee the mentors and ensure they receive basic training regarding mentoring professionals, professional development and diversity. The Fellows Program Chair should also monitor mentor/Fellow contact to facilitate the growth of that relationship.
The Fellows Program Chair will periodically meet with each Fellow to discuss committee activities and actively monitor the program to ensure that the stated goals and objectives are being met.
At the conclusion of the two-year fellowship, the Fellows are encouraged to remain active ISBA members and to consider running for the Assembly or other leadership positions within the ISBA.
VI. Privileges of Fellows
The Fellows will receive two years of complimentary ISBA membership. Fellows are expected to attend the ISBA Mid-Year and Annual Meetings. The registration fees for these meetings are complimentary, as are admission to meal functions at these conventions during their two-year fellowship. For business meetings other than those conducted at the Mid-Year and Annual Meetings, Fellows will be reimbursed according to the ISBA reimbursement policy.
The progress of this program will be re-evaluated by the Standing Committee on Scope and Correlation in the spring of 2016. ■