MSBA Statement on Equality
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Maine State Bar Association
Statement on Equality
June 12, 2020
The Maine State Bar Association promotes the honor, dignity and professionalism of lawyers, advances the knowledge, skills and interests of its members, and supports the public interest in a fair and effective system of justice.
Events have moved at lightning speed in Maine and throughout the nation, as people respond to the killing of George Floyd. Indeed, we are living through a critical moment in history, as long-standing systemic issues of racial injustice are brought yet again into high relief.
As the state's oldest and largest professional association of attorneys, our mission calls on us to support a "fair and effective system of justice." This nation relies on the rule of law, and that rule must be fair to everyone, including people of color. Therefore, it is imperative that the legal community play a role in helping to dismantle institutional barriers, from within the legal system and in the larger community, and to address the biases that prevent people of color from enjoying equal protections under our laws in this state and this country. In short, racial inequality is a systemic problem that requires a systematic solution.
To that end, we pledge to work with the Board of Overseers of the Bar, legal organizations, and county bar associations statewide to provide more robust educational opportunities with respect to harassment and discrimination and racial equality. Following our attorney survey on harassment in 2018, we partnered with the Board of Overseers to deliver a significant number of CLE programs that have helped attorneys address Maine’s new harassment and discriminatory conduct education requirement. We will leverage that partnership to develop and deliver programming around racial equality. In addition, we pledge to redouble diversity and inclusion efforts already underway with the Maine Society of Certified Public Accountants (MECPA), as well as Maine's engineering and medical professionals.
We should always seek to build a better system of justice and life for all Maine people, regardless of skin color, race, or ethnicity. The Maine State Bar Association does not speak for every licensed attorney in Maine, but through our collective actions we will speak for the rule of law and equal justice for all.