Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

The ISBA’S Diversity & Inclusion mission statement: The ISBA values diversity and prioritizes the inclusion and active participation of all attorneys licensed to practice law in Illinois at all levels of the organization. To that end, the ISBA takes affirmative steps to ensure that attorneys of all backgrounds, identities, and circumstances are included in every level of the organization. The ISBA’s investment in creating a more inclusive profession is broadly communicated and reflected by example, both within the Association and the wider legal community.

Update on the ISBA’s Ongoing DEI Efforts

Following the assessment of the ISBA’s DEI progress by professors Richard Harvey, PhD (St. Louis University College of Arts and Sciences) and Kimberly Norwood, JD (Washington University in St. Louis School of Law), the Steering Committee on Equity Strategy was formed. The Steering Committee’s charge is to examine the findings of the assessment and to implement policies and practices to strengthen the ISBA’s DEI awareness and incorporate equity into all aspects of the organization.

The Steering Committee on Equity Strategy is comprised of the current and immediate-past chairs of the ISBA Diversity Leadership Council, the president and vice presidents of ISBA, the Executive Director, and the Assistant Executive Director for Member Services.


  • The Steering Committee initially focused on identifying the areas of highest priority to increase the Association’s DEI competence, and areas of immediate action to improve inclusion and belonging for members and staff. 
  • A series of diversity and disability awareness training sessions are underway for all ISBA staff.
  • Five subcommittees have been formed to address internal and external processes to further the organization’s DEI efforts:
    • Learning and Development Subcommittee. This subcommittee is focused on providing education and learning experiences to leaders, employees, and other stakeholders throughout the organization geared to achieving the organization’s DEI goals.
    • DEI Communications Subcommittee. This subcommittee’s mission is to ensure that the organization’s communications are clear, simple to understand, fully accessible, and provide regular updates on ISBA’s progress toward its DEI goals.
    • Assessment, Measurement, and Research Subcommittee. This subcommittee will gather a mix of qualitative and quantitative measures from organization stakeholders to ensure data guide DEI decisions.
    • Internal Processes Subcommittee. This subcommittee will work to strengthen the organization’s policies, systems, and processes to advance DEI and ensure equity for all stakeholders. 
    • External Processes Subcommittee. This subcommittee’s work focuses on how the organization offers programs to and communicates with the broader community by embedding DEI in marketing and other media.

Next Steps

The Steering Committee will continue to monitor the progress of the subcommittees’ work during the implementation phase of new strategies and will provide regular updates to the membership regarding the ISBA’s progress.

ISBA DEI Assessment

Related Groups

The ISBA recognizes its diversity-related committees and section councils under the umbrella of the Diversity Leadership Council. This Council consist of 6 communities and section council members as well as members of the greater ISBA member base. The Diversity Leadership Council exists to coordinate all committee and council work and outreach efforts, support and acknowledge the diversity and inclusion efforts of the ISBA, and to help evaluate the ISBA efforts in this arena.


Moving Up in the ISBA: Women in Leadership Roles
Do you want to run for a leadership position in ISBA, but confused as to how? This panel of esteemed ISBA leaders will give insight as to strategy, networking, and how to navigate the ISBA and its opportunities in order to achieve successful appointment and election goals.