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Focus on Diversity

Building on growing sentiment among bar leaders, staff, members, and nonmembers the MSBA and affiliated bar associations in Minnesota are renewing their commitment to diversity and inclusion within the legal profession in 2013-14.

MSBA in 2013 created a new staff position for a Director of Diversity and Inclusion, substantially upgrading the staffing commitment to this area, and hired attorney Danielle Shelton Walczak to fill this role. MSBA’s governing board, the Council, has further committed to reorganization of the association’s diversity efforts supported by quantitative and qualitative analysis of results.

A Diversity Strategic Plan is being prepared for approval by bar leadership and is expected to include, among other emphases, focus on ensuring that MSBA reflect the diversity of the legal profession, provide opportunities and inclusion for all Minnesota attorneys, and expand MSBA’s partnership with minority bar associations. Additional information regarding the strategic plan is expected to be available following the April meeting of the MSBA Assembly.

Relatedly, the Hennepin County Bar Association’s (“HCBA”) Diversity Committee is now accepting nominations for the 2014 Legal Employer and Individual diversity awards. These awards are intended to promote increased diversity and inclusion within Hennepin County’s legal community by recognizing the substantial and long-term contributions of a legal employer, an attorney, and a nonattorney to the furtherance of diversity and inclusion, civil rights, civil liberties, or human rights in the legal profession within Hennepin County.

Individuals who are associated with private firms, the government, academia, the judiciary, nonprofit organizations, and other aspects of the legal profession are eligible for the awards.

Nomination forms and information about the awards can be had by calling HCBA at (612) 752-6600, by emailing jim@hcba.org, or via the HCBA website, www.hcba.org/. Nominations are due by April 1, 2014.


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