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05/31/07 | 09/06/07 | 3/19/08 | 5/8/08

MSBA Diversity Implementation Task Force
Meeting Summary
May 8, 2008

Present:  Co-Chairs Dani Deering and Sue Holden, members Leslie Altman, Lisa Montpetit Brabbit, Leo Brisbois, Mike Burns, Marta Chou, Sally Dahlquist, Andriel Dees, Phil Duran, Roy Ginsburg, Anne Johnson, Sara Jones, Katherine MacKinnon, Kathleen Marron (via phone), Sonia Miller-Van Oort, Justin Page, Judge Kathleen Sanberg, Mike Tracy, Mary Vasaly, Mary Ward, editor Mary Jo Cole and MSBA staff Nancy Mischel.

Review of Minority Bar Summit:
Ms. Deering reported on the process of gathering information at the Minority Bar Summit on April 17.  Although attendees randomly counted off which breakout session to attend, no one was prohibited from changing groups and some people did just that.  The summary of the information from the breakout session, provided by the facilitators, is included in the Appendix of the Guide. 

Discussion of Last Changes to Diversity Best Practices Guide: 
Ms. Marron asked whether the Guide has been cross-checked to ensure it includes recommended best practices from the focus groups conducted in conjunction with the last statistical report issued in 2006.  Ms. Cole will do this and alert subcommittee chairs to any gaps.  Mr. Page noted that his Disability Subcommittee considered changes proposed by a Summit attendee, but did not adopt all of them due to concerns over possible employer liability.  The Guide is intended as a living document; not an end point but a starting point that can be revised and updated.  Some CD’s of the Guide will be produced in addition to limited hard copies.  It will also be available on the MSBA website with live links so that people can quickly jump to the relevant section(s).  Ms. Dahlquist suggested an Executive Summary be created.

Members discussed whether the Wikipedia definition of “best practices” is the one they want to use in the Guide.  Members agreed to revise the definition and eliminate the reference to Wikipedia.  Members agreed to adopt the redlined changes noted in the draft, which reflect suggestions from the Women in the Legal Profession Committee.  Members agreed to allow Ms. Brabbit to add some additional references to the section on mentoring.  Members also agreed to give Ms. Cole authority to correct obvious errors and typos, and to go back to the relevant subcommittee chair(s) for any necessary clarifications.

Additional recommendations for the Assembly: 
Ms. Holden proposed that the Steering Committee and other interested members of the Task Force meet with the Women in the Legal Profession and Diversity Committees between now and September to develop an implementation plan for the Guide, which will include goals and measures to judge success.  The group would make recommendations and outline any necessary budget in time for the September Assembly’s consideration.  A suggestion was made to search out employers beyond current SAGE participants to learn about the Guide and commit to implementing some of its recommendations. 
MSBA Convention CLE:  Marlene Garvis, who was unable to attend the meeting, is planning the Task Force’s CLE.  Ms. Garvis is envisioning a panel discussion.  Right now, Mr. Duran and Ms. Marron have agreed to participate.  Anyone else interested in volunteering should contact Ms. Garvis.  To the extent possible, members recommended the CLE be interactive, along the lines of the powerpoint Mr. Tracy developed earlier.


MSBA Diversity Implementation Task Force
Meeting Summary
March 19, 2008

Present:  Co-Chair Dani Deering, members Gail Chang Bohr, Lisa Montpetit Brabbit, Leo Brisbois, Greg Bulinski, Sally Dahlquist (by phone), Jim Dorsey, Phil Duran, Allen Easley, Marlene Garvis, Roy Ginsburg, Anne Johnson, Sara Jones, Erin Keyes, Katherine MacKinnon, Sonia Miller-Van Oort, Justin Page, Judge George Perez, Judge Kathleen Sanberg, Lenor Scheffler, Mike Tracy, Mary Ward, writer Mary Jo Cole and MSBA staff Nancy Mischel.

Reports from Subcommittees: 
Subcommittee chairs provided brief updates on the work of their subcommittees, all of which can be seen in the draft Best Practices Guide that was distributed for review.  Lisa Brabbit is working on a mentoring section that will include a checklist for employers and be divided into four parts:  feasibility assessment, action incentive items, implementation and support, and assessment.

Report from Outreach Subcommittee and Minority Bar Summit:
Marlene Garvis, chair of the Outreach subcommittee, reported that the Minority Bar Summit has been set for Thursday, April 17.  A letter inviting the minority bars and Twin Cities Diversity in Practice to the summit was sent via email and regular mail on March 14.  Four of the minority bars have already responded that they will attend.  Ms. Garvis is trying to meet with each group prior to the Summit.  A representative from the MSBA’s Diversity Committee and the Women in the Legal Profession Committee will be invited to the Summit, as well as a representative from the Hennepin and Ramsey County Bar Associations’ Diversity Committees.  In addition, a representative from each of the law schools will be invited.  A suggestion was made to extend the invitation to the entire MSBA membership.  Members discussed the difficulty of involving so many people.

Ms. Garvis also reported that the subcommittee is working on a CLE presentation for the MSBA Convention in June, which will most likely be organized as a panel discussion on the Diversity Best Practices Guide.

Discussion of Draft Best Practices Guide: 
Members were asked to submit technical comments regarding typos etc. directly to Mary Jo Cole.  It is likely that the final hard text product will be organized in a binder and include some laminated pull out pages that could be used for marketing purposes or “cheat sheets” for employers.  The online version of the report will include hyperlinks that will enable employers to quickly find the specific information they want.  Members discussed a few suggestions, such as including a preamble, an "overview at a glance", or other pages that would describe the structure of the report and how to use it.

Timeline for Completion of Work
Friday, March 28:  Revised draft incorporating comments received from Task Force members is sent to full Task Force and minority bars
April 17:  Minority Bar Summit, 2:30-5:30 p.m., reception from 5:30-6pm
April 30:  "Final" draft sent out, which includes input from minority bars and any other Task Force member input
May 8:  Full Task Force meeting at noon; review of final draft and last opportunity for input either by email or in-person
May 16:  Best Practices Guide complete; final version sent to Task Force members and General Policy in advance of June 15 Assembly meeting

The meeting adjourned at 1:05 p.m.

MSBA Diversity Implementation Task Force
Meeting Summary
September 6, 2007

Present: Co-Chair Dani Deering, members Lisa Montpetit Brabbit, Gail Brandt, Leo Brisbois, Greg Bulinski, Mike Burns, Sally Dahlquist, Jim Dorsey, Allen Easley, Anne Johnson, Sonia Miller-Van Oort, Justin Page, Mike Tracy, Mary Ward and MSBA staff Nancy Mischel.
By Phone: Leslie Altman, Gail Chang Bohr, Marta Chou, Andriel Dees, Roy Ginsburg, Katherine MacKinnon, Richard Mark, Kathy Marron, Judge George Perez, Judge Kathy Sanberg
Guest: MSBA President Brian Melendez

Introductions: Following introductions, President Melendez spoke for a few minutes about the importance of the Task Force's work.

Writer for Task Force Report/Toolkit: Mary Jo Cole, a former MSBA employee, has been hired to put together the diversity toolkit/report of the Task Force. Members reiterated that in keeping with the toolkit idea, they want the "report" to focus on best practices, providing practical strategies and tips for legal employers on how to attract and retain a diverse workforce.

Reports from Subcommittees (some of this comes directly from subcommittee minutes):

Judge Sanberg reported that the Gender Subcommittee has divided the responsibilities for researching and updating the SAGE Best Practices ("SBP") by the same areas as the SBP: Equal Access, Workday, Evaluation/Promotion, Retention, Compensation and Governance.

They will also be sharing information that overlaps gender and the other subcommittees (i.e. gender and race, gender and religion). While their focus is on the law, they are also researching other professions that may be related or similar, such as accountants or higher education. The MSBA SBP have been used as a model by other states; most recently, the New York Bar Association is using them as the basis for its current diversity program.

Sexual Orientation
Jim Dorsey and Mary Ward reported for the sexual orientation subcommittee. They have met twice and have divided up their work by type of legal employer (corporate counsel, law firms, law schools, legal aid employers, public law employers and the courts). The subcommittee has developed a list of questions designed to solicit information from employers and articles regarding best practices in this area.

Mike Tracy and Justin Page reported for the religion/disability subcommittee. The subcommittee's goal is to provide ideas/suggestions to individuals in supervisory roles relating to reasonable accommodations that can be made to create a win/win work environment. The Committee is also looking at how to raise awareness of religious diversity. For example, awareness can be improved by inviting individuals of different faiths to speak at organizational meetings as a way to both educate others as well as provide an opportunity to discuss religious issues that may be creating tension within the work environment.

The race subcommittee has not met. The chair, Tamika Nordstrom, is moving to Georgia and can no longer serve as chair. A new chair is being sought.

The outreach subcommittee has not met. Lenor Scheffler, the chair, had to step down due to other commitments, although she remains a member of the subcommittee. Marlene Garvis has taken over as chair and will be scheduling a meeting soon.

Lisa Brabbit volunteered to put together a proposed structure for the subcommittees to do their work based on the SAGE model. Jim Dorsey suggested use of a matrix, with types of legal employers in a column across the top and areas such as recruitment, retention, etc. in columns along the side.

Deadlines: The Task Force will complete its work in time for presentation at the June 2008 MSBA Assembly meeting. With input from Mary Jo Cole, members will be given a draft set of deadlines, including when subcommittees must finish their work and when Mary Jo expects to have drafts of the "toolkit" for members to review.

Powerpoint Presentation: Mike Tracy gave a quick run-through of a powerpoint he created about the recent MSBA diversity survey; he has presented it twice so far. Members asked that it be shared with the Women in the Legal Profession Committee as their members are asking legal employers to sign onto the SAGE best practices. Members were encouraged to share their comments and/or suggestions for improvement with Mike.

Other Business: Members raised the possibility of asking for input from the minority bars via the Minority Bar Summit.

The meeting adjourned at 4:40 p.m.

The next full Task Force is set for November 8, 2007 at noon at the MSBA.


MSBA Diversity Implementation Task Force
Meeting Summary
May 31, 2007

Present:  Co-Chair Dani Deering (by phone), Co-Chair Sue Holden, members Gail Chang Bohr, Lisa Montpetit Brabbit, Greg Bulinski, Mike Burns, Sally Dahlquist (by phone), Jim Dorsey, Phil Duran, Allen Easley (by phone), Marlene Garvis, Anne Johnson, Erin Keyes, Katherine MacKinnon, Sonia Miller-Van Oort, Judge Kathy Sanberg, Lenor Scheffler, Mike Tracy and MSBA staff Nancy Mischel.

Introductions and Background:  Sue Holden provided information on last year’s Diversity Task Force, the report generated by their work and the charge of the current Task Force. 

Task Force Structure and Subcommittees:  The Task Force has a steering committee consisting of co-chairs Sue Holden and Dani Deering, Leslie Altman, Mike Tracy, Judge Sanberg, Tamika Nordstrom, Phil Duran and Kathe Marron.  The Steering Committee is considering the form of the Task Force report and plans to initiate drafting as early as possible.  They will direct their immediate efforts toward retaining a writer and initiating the process to obtain the appropriations necessary for the report.  Much of the report's outline, introduction, case for diversity and some portions on gender could be drafted at any time.

Much of the Task Force work will be done through six subcommittees.  Five of the subcommittees will be organized by diversity areas studied in the report:  Gender (chaired by Judge Sanberg), Race and Ethnicity (chaired by Tamika Nordstrom), Sexual Orientation (chaired by Phil Duran), Disability (chaired by Justin Page) and Religion (chair TBD).  The charge of these subcommittees is to review the report and other research, and develop best practices for legal employers to recruit and retain employees within their particular area of diversity.  The SAGE Best Practices might be used as a model.  The sixth subcommittee is Outreach (chair TBD) which will gather meaningful input from sections, committees, minority bars and organizations identified by the other subcommittees. 

Task Force members are asked to fill out a form ranking the order of their preference for serving on the subcommittees.  The co-chairs will review these and develop the subcommittee rosters, which will be sent to everyone within a week.  Email listservs will be created for each subcommittee so the chair and members can easily communicate with one another.

Timeline and Meeting Schedule:  The Task Force will complete its work in time for presentation at the June 2008 MSBA Assembly meeting.  The full Task Force will meet quarterly, generally the month before the Assembly meets.  This means meeting in August, November, March and May, although the August meeting will likely be pushed to the first week of September due to law school orientations the last week of August.  Some of the meetings will begin at noon and others at 3:30 p.m.  Members requested the meeting schedule be set as soon as possible.  Subcommittees will meet at the call of the respective chair, as often as necessary to accomplish their work.

It was noted that our state demographer and the law school admissions offices have a plethora of statistics regarding Minnesota’s population and how it is changing.  Because this information could be useful to the Task Force, representatives from those offices may be invited to a future meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.