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On Thursday, June 10 the Iowa State Bar Association hosted a session on diversity and inclusiveness track. It was called “Interrupting Bias, Welcoming Diversity and Reclaiming Civility: Making the Iowa Bar Truly Welcoming and Inclusive.”

The Iowa Standard obtained the PowerPoint presentation of the training. The ISBA changed its previous ISBA Women & Minorities Committee to the ISBA Diversity & Inclusiveness Committee.


Within a few slides, the presentation shared a talking point from Black Lives Matter:

“Meritocracy, let’s cut to the chase… It’s a lie.”

Then the presentation featured the Wheel of Power/Privilege:

And there is this graphic shared that ISBA calls an “efficient representation” of the “very complex concepts of injustice, equality, equity and justice.” And it continues:

“However, even Tony Ruth’s illustration was critiqued on DEI grounds since it focused on fixing the broken system (i.e. the tree) instead of dismantling it all together (sic).”

The presentation then transitioned to “microaggressions” and how to handle them. They are also given an acronym — GOOD Guys in Law – Interrupting Bias. It stands for:

G – Guys
O – Overcoming
O – Obstacles to
D – Diversity

It links to the website as well.

“GOOD Guys is a program designed to break the impasse in women’s advancement by engaging people who have been missing from the conversation for too long — the GUYS!”

That comes from the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.

At the end of the presentation, the Iowa State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division presents a diversity, equity and inclusion pledge. It gives guidelines for how many of the items listed officers with 1-4 lawyers, 5-14 lawyers and 15-plus lawyers should try to achieve to successfully complete the pledge.

Some of the internal pledge action items include:

*Draft a diversity and inclusion policy
*Create a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) committee within firm, company or department
*Implement a diversity and inclusion training strategy, including a requirement that all employees take unconscious bias training
*Actively recruit to strengthen the number of diverse attorneys and staff
*Credit attorney’s billable hours for diversity activities or mentoring, or otherwise support these endeavors
*Host or sponsor a Continuing Legal Education event for employee attorneys related to diversity or inclusion
*Have 100 percent of attorney employees attend a diversity CLE
*Ensure that diverse attorneys share responsibility for recruiting and interviewing both new and lateral hires
*Maintain statistics on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts
*Recognize diversity efforts of attorneys
*Have employees participate in a 21-Day Equity Challenge
*Provide sensitivity training on proper pronoun use and/or add pronouns to the standard email signature as part of standard practice

And there was a list of external pledge action items:

*Provide legal services to marginalized community members, outside of paid practice
*Have attorneys be active members in a minority bar association
*Have at least one attorney in the office write and publish an article on the subject of diversity and inclusion
*Have at least one attorney in the firm mentor a diverse high school or college student from Iowa interested in a law career
*Hold an expungement clinic
*Provide a ‘know your rights training’ for how to safely interact with law enforcement while also protecting constitutional rights

In a scenario presented during the training, the issue of pronouns came up:

And here are a couple of other scenarios thrown out:

Author: Jacob Hall


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