The CFD Communications Subcommittee is involved in diversity communications on law school campuses and in the legal profession by a variety of means and media, including the WSBA Bar News. The Communication Subcommittee is responsible for editing a CFD Diversity Column published quarterly in the WSBA Bar News. Columns are written by members of the CFD and Minority Bar Associations, among others, on diversity topics of interest to the profession. The Communications Subcommittee also partners with each of the three law schools in the state to offer diversity mock interviews and/or speed networking or diversity panel programs on the subject of diversity recruitment and hiring, professionalism, and diversity networking.
The Outreach Subcommittee works on a variety of projects to engage attorneys, employers, law students, and youth who may be interested in the legal profession. Last year, our members launched a pilot project in two high schools, Cleveland High School in Seattle, and Rogers High School in Spokane. The schools were chosen because (a) they serve a diverse population whose students may not have been exposed to opportunities in the legal profession, and (b) they stand to contribute greatly to the Bar's diversity goals. The students were asked to write a 500 word essay answering the query "Is Justice Blind?" The entire CFD and WYLD members are helping to grade the essays. Winners will be announced in March 2010 and a feature article will appear in the WSBA Bar News. We hope to expand the project next year to include tribal schools and other interested schools.
In addition to the essay contest, our Subcommittee hosts an annual reception for Academic Resource Center (ARC) students at Seattle University School of Law. ARC students participate in Seattle University's groundbreaking program, which enables talented law students to contribute to diversity in the legal profession who do not necessarily meet traditional admission requirements for law school. Our members also participate in the swearing-in ceremonies statewide and attend Minority Bar Association quarterly receptions. Finally, we are considering a new and ambitious project — designing a curriculum for a "pre-law conference" — to include in the annual Statewide Diversity Conference that takes place each year in June. The Outreach Subcommittee encourages new WSBA members to join us with their ideas and energy, because such projects that will promote increasing diversity in our profession.
The CFD Retention Subcommittee is focusing on several areas for 2010. We are collecting information and articles on attorney retention issues that will be posted as a resource on this website. Our hope is that firm leadership, attorneys, attorney managers, and HR personnel reading our website will benefit from this information and, along with their staff, find successful solutions to the important issue of attorney attrition. We also support the WSBA's proposal to engage in a research study analyzing voluntary demographic information in and for its membership. Such information would enable the WSBA to understand better the makeup of our bar membership, as well as the various issues that members face in the profession.
The Education subcommittee focuses on raising issues with the WSBA membership that are important in creating and maintaining a diverse bar. The subcommittee plans, coordinates and presents CLEs open to the entire bar that relate to diversity. The CLE topics are intended to be relevant to the practice of law and informative to all members of the bar. The CLE topics include analysis of recent court cases, increasing and maintaining diversity in the WSBA membership and on the bench, and raising awareness of a variety of diversity issues in the practice of law in Washington state. We are planning a CLE to be held at the WSBA offices in late March/early April to examine the Turner v. Stime case. Panelists include Judge Ken Kato and Mark Kamitomo.
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