Adriana Rincon White, Andrea Vieira, Annette Bradley, Atif Sheikh, Augusta Massey, Chaka Crome, Elody Tignor, Eric Dobberstein, John Fortin, Kari Stephens, Mariteresa Rivera-Rogers, Martha E. Menendez, Michael Nunez, Noah Malgeri, Paul Lal, Paul Ray, Peter Goatz, Reginald Thomas, Sheri Ann Forbes, Will Sykes. They are all members of the Clark County Bar Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee for Equity (DICE). DICE is part of the Clark County Bar’s continued interest in and efforts to increase diversity, inclusion, and equity within Nevada’s legal profession.
By way of background, in 1993, out of approximately 4,000 lawyers in Nevada, only 40 were African American and less than 39 were Hispanic. Letter to managing partners from State Bar of Nevada Minority Relations Committee Chairman District Court Judge Lee Gates, December 1993. In recognition of the role both gender and race discrimination played in the legal profession, District Judge Lee Gates (who was then Chair of the State Bar of Nevada and Minority Relations Committee) wrote a letter to law firm mcla4rkanaging partners regarding the need for increased diversity in the Nevada legal profession. See 1993-Letter-by-Judge-Lee-Gates.pdf
In this letter, he also referenced a newly developed Clark County Bar Association program designed to introduce high school minority students to the legal profession. This program has since morphed into the Trial by Peers program and is now operated by the Clark County Law Foundation.
Moving forward 28 years, the legal profession continues to strive for increased diversity and inclusion. Why? Why strive for increased diversity and inclusion within the legal community? Although I’m glad you asked that question, there is no one right answer; nor is there one right way to achieve diversity and inclusion (spoken like a lawyer). That said, the answer —both nuanced and complex—lies in both social and economic considerations. Those considerations range from an improved public image to increased perception of accessibility to representation, to a more congenial, professionally satisfying and productive work environment.
DICE had its first meeting in March 2021. Given the broad breadth of approaches to this issue, the Committee had many robust discussions identifying and honing their mission to ensure it reflected what the Committee wanted to accomplish. To that end, the DICE mission is to organize educational programs that facilitate constructive discussion and enhance understanding of diversity issues. The Committee promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and the removal of barriers to success within the CCBA and the communities we serve.
Once the mission was developed, DICE then identified five mission-centered objectives, including the following: i) Increase cultural understanding (competence) within the profession; ii) Encourage communication related to diversity and inclusion; iii) Assist members to develop and improve diversity goals; iv) Build and support a diversity pipeline to the legal profession; and v) Promote a greater understanding of equity and inclusion. But, the Committee knew we couldn’t stop there. DICE knew that without action, the mission and objectives were empty. So, the next big discussion was how to implement the mission and objectives? Beginning with this Communiqué article, the Committee identified the means to accomplish their goals. Over the coming months, look for thought and discussion provoking diversity, inclusion, and equity CLEs, look for educational content. The Committee has already identified some powerful speakers to lead, develop, and present content for a Clark County Bar Luncheon; develop a quarterly lecture series; and develop an annual meet and greet event for managing partners and law students.
This is who we are, this is what we’ve accomplished, and this is the committee seeking your input and energy. We meet the last Friday of each month at noon. Join us. Be a part of change.
About the author
Annette Bradley, Esq. recently retired as General Counsel for the Southern Nevada Health District and while continuing to be an active member of the Nevada bar, is looking forward to enjoying family, friends, and travel.
Save the date: October 21, 2021
About this article: This article was originally published in the “Torts Law” issue of Communiqué, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association, (August 2021). See https://clarkcountybar.org/about/member-benefits/communique-2021/communique-august-2021/.
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