The New Pledge to Diversity (contents of which can be found in the March Colorado Lawyer, page 21) was recently signed by some Denver-area law firms. The CBA/DBA Diversity in the Legal Profession Committee was asked to endorse the New Pledge. The Committee did, but chair David Juarez said a number of concerns were raised.
That group is disappointed by the lack of progress from when the first Pledge was signed by 23 firms in 1993, when they committed to increase the number of attorneys of color within their ranks (followed by a recommitment by 19 firms in 1997).
Specifically, the Committee felt the New Pledge has failed to address:
1 - lack of true accountability and lack of sanctions for noncompliance
2 - lack of full inclusivity of diversity including gender bias and the differently abled
3 - lack of specific quantifiable goals
4 - lack of special programs addressing lesbian and gay issues
5 - lack of specific programs addressing women's issues
6 - failure to set forth a specific summer intern/associate program
The Committee wanted to state that this New Pledge is not a model that will satisfy a firm's efforts at achieving diversity, but it is rather a first step on a long road toward that end. The Committee stands ready to assist, advise and support any efforts toward full diversity in the legal profession. The group meets at noon on the first Tuesday of every month at the DBA offices and is open to the public. Visit their Web site at www.cobar.org/comms/diversity/index.htm.