Diversity at the Detroit Bar

Detroit Bar Commitment to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession

We, the leaders and signatory members of the Detroit Bar Association, play a critical role in ensuring that inclusion is core to our Association and we have a responsibility to use our influence to create a profession that welcomes practitioners representative of the communities we serve.

We believe that inclusion must be part of the conversation to attract, educate, train, retain, mentor, and promote diverse attorneys to leadership positions within Michigan bar associations, firms, agencies, organizations, and the judiciary.

We believe that advancing diversity and inclusion raises the bar for the entire profession and we encourage our members to practice with their “whole self”—race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, religion, age, veteran status, marital/parental/caregiver status, socioeconomic status, and any other characteristic that makes a lawyer uniquely experienced to bring perspective so we can learn from one another.

We believe that our partnerships with K-12 schools, colleges, and law schools are fundamental to establishing a pipeline of diverse talent and commit to hold ourselves as beacons of encouragement for students—especially prospective first-generation-lawyers—to see this profession as an option for themselves.

We recognize that we are not experts; and we commit to be a resource for any law firm, corporate legal department, judge, government agency, or partner bar association that wishes to embark on this journey with us to cooperatively advance diversity and inclusion efforts in a trusting environment to collaboratively continue the progress.

Therefore, we commit to take steps to act on these beliefs and to promote diversity and inclusion within the Detroit Bar Association and our profession.

 

Dear Members of the Detroit Bar Association:

Over the last few months we have witnessed the consequences of long-standing and unchecked institutional racism unfold in our country. The senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others have deeply angered us and reminded our nation that these events are not new phenomena. They are the result of an ongoing and systemic problem that cannot continue.

The Detroit Bar Association and Foundation stand in solidarity with organizations within our community and throughout the nation that are fighting to end systemic and explicit racism. We recognize that as members of the Detroit legal community we have a responsibility to create a more diverse and inclusive legal community that is well equipped to fight injustices. In recognition of this important responsibility, in the fall of 2019 our organizations took the first of many steps in realizing this goal by creating the Detroit Bar Association and Foundation’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

As stated in The Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion adopted by our Boards, the Detroit Bar Association and Foundation believe:

… advancing diversity and inclusion raises the bar for the entire profession and we encourage our members to practice with their “whole self” – race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, religion, age, veteran status, marital/parental/caregiver status, socioeconomic status, and any other characteristic that makes a lawyer uniquely experienced to bring perspective so we can learn from one another.

While our stated commitment to creating a more inclusive and diverse legal community is important, we recognize that this is only an initial step, among many needed, to confront racial injustice. We also realize that as members of the legal community, we are not powerless to fight for real change. In the coming weeks and months, we will work to connect with you and bring you opportunities and initiatives to help our community combat inequality and injustice.

In the meantime, the Detroit Bar Association welcomes and values your input. Overcoming the institution of racism, which stands in stark opposition to our values, will require diverse perspectives and commitment and action from all of our members.  Now, more than ever, we must act as a community.  Please send us your ideas about what the Detroit Bar Association should be doing and how you may want to contribute, by contacting us at dbadiversity@detroitlawyer.org.