SBM members urged to sign diversity pledge

--Grand Rapids reception on Sept. 30th will highlight diversity

The State Bar of Michigan is urging its members to sign a Michigan Pledge to achieve diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

The SBM Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted the pledge at its July 23 meeting in Lansing. It was the culmination of the efforts of attorneys across the state who participated in three colloquia held early this summer by the SBM Equal Access Initiative.

A recent American Bar Association study shows that the legal profession lags in diversity, with people of color making up only 10 percent of the population of the profession, compared to 25 percent of medical professionals, 21 percent of accountants, and 18 percent of college professors. In Michigan, attorneys of color make up approximately 15 percent of the attorney population.

''At its foundation, the legal profession is focused on problem solving,'' said State Bar President-Elect W. Anthony Jenkins. ''This is best achieved by including people from diverse backgrounds and experiences, and by valuing differences. Diversity brings with it broader rather than less citizen participation in governance, and in turn yields greater trust in how government works and in the rule of law.''

In conjunction with this effort to boost diversity and inclusion, a reception will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010 at the B.O.B., which is located at 20 Monroe Avenue Northwest in Grand Rapids. The event will also coincide with the SBM Annual Meeting.

To sign the Pledge, visit www.michbar.org/diversity/.

For more information please contact SBM Diversity Director Greg Conyers at (517) 346-6358 or gconyers@mail.michbar.org.

Published: Thu, Sep 9, 2010