MSBA Establishes Diversity Committee
Thursday, June 25, 2020
Maine State Bar Association Establishes Diversity Committee
Committee will recommend steps to increase diversity and inclusion in MSBA
The Maine State Bar Association’s Board of Governors (BOG) is pleased to announce the establishment of a Diversity Committee as a follow up to its June 15th Statement of Equality. The ad-hoc committee, approved at the Board’s June 24th meeting, will include members of the legal community and the MSBA Board of Governors. The committee is tasked with recommending steps that the MSBA should take to increase racial diversity and inclusion within the organization and to plan for a permanent committee to address inclusion and equality issues within MSBA and the greater legal community.
Directives and items for consideration by the Diversity Committee are:
- Establish bylaws for a permanent committee to address issues of inclusion, diversity and equality
- Conduct planning to stand up a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) lawyers Section within the MSBA
- Consider the addition of new Section representative on MSBA’s Board of Governors
- Participate in and/or support for the Maine Diversity Summer Associate Program
- Collaborate with law firms on recruitment efforts to bring more Black lawyers into Maine
- Reach out to organizations working with Black youth to talk about careers in the law
- Partner with University of Maine School of Law on diversity and inclusion programs
- Recommend training and education for the BOG and staff
- Suggest changes or improvements to MSBA’s Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programming
- Survey MSBA members to collect data on how they identify themselves racially.
“The Maine State Bar Association is fully committed to increasing diversity and inclusion within our ranks and dismantling institutional barriers to equality from within the legal system. Our mission calls on us to support a fair and effective system of justice. We have a mandate to act on this issue,” said Thaddeus Day, President of the association. “Establishing a Diversity Committee and planning for consistent, long-term action on issues of diversity and inclusion within the MSBA is a good start.”
MSBA is Maine’s largest and oldest professional association for attorneys and has a history of supporting issues of equality and social justice. The organization offers CLE programming on diversity, discrimination and harassment, and facilitates opportunities for Maine lawyers to volunteer pro bono work to underserved and vulnerable communities.
“We have an opportunity here – within Maine’s legal community and our organization in particular – to mobilize and act. We recognize that we have a unique responsibility and opportunity to move the needle on urgent issues of social and racial justice. The time to act is now,” said Angela Armstrong, Executive Director of the MSBA.