Updated: Aug. 8, 2022

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council

Under the delegated authority of the Washington Supreme Court and consistent with the WSBA mission, the Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council’s purpose is to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal profession and legal system.

To advance diversity, equity and inclusion and address the problems of bias, systemic inequities and underrepresentation in the legal profession, the Council’s work includes but is not limited to:

  • Increasing and supporting members from underrepresented communities by developing and supporting diversity pipeline and mentorship programs and partnering with schools, students and members from underrepresented communities.
  • Developing diversity, equity and inclusion educational content and programs for members, volunteers and members of the public.
  • Developing diversity, equity and inclusion educational content and programs designed to offer members opportunities to learn, gain skills and fulfill the MCLE ethics requirement on the mitigation of bias.
  • Supporting and collaborating with the Minority Bar Associations to promote mutual goals to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal profession.
  • Promoting leadership opportunities in the WSBA, legal profession and legal system by engaging in outreach to underrepresented members and the public, promoting diversity in the judiciary, and recommending candidates for At-Large Governors on the WSBA Board of Governors (BOG).
  • Advising the Board of Governors on examining issues through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens and fulfilling its responsibilities outlined in General Rule 12.2(a)(6), WSBA Strategic Goals, the Race and Equity Justice Initiatives commitments, and approved resolutions concerning diversity, equity and inclusion.

The DEI Council is formerly known as the Diversity Committee. The change was approved by the Board of Governors in July 2022. The change of becoming a council broadens the membership and allows WSBA members with pro bono status and judicial status as well as law students, staff and faculty and members of the public. Read the DEI Council’s charter.

The Washington State Bar Association’s DEI Council works to promote diversity and equality in the courts and legal profession (General 12(2)(a)) and to that end, oversees the implementation of WSBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan. The council's work promotes systemically disadvantaged groups to enter, remain, thrive, and lead in the profession of law. The council does this by providing guidance and recommendations to the Board of Governors on diversity, equity and inclusion issues, collaborating with Minority Bar Associations and other equity and justice organizations to host events and educational programs, and supporting law students with lived experience from systemically oppressed communities.

Examples of Council Work

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion CLEs: The Council works with the Equity and Justice staff to develop CLEs focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. The CLEs are designed for a membership-wide audience and offered for free.
  • Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Bar News: The Council works with Bar News staff and the WSBA Editorial Advisory Committee to apply an equity focused lens for the Bar News magazine and develop content that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • WSBA At-Large Governor Position: Under the WSBA Bylaws, the DEI Council is charged with reviewing applications for the Member At-Large Governor position and then forwarding at least three candidates to be on the ballot for an election of all member eligible to vote. The candidates should have the experience and knowledge of the needs of those members whose membership is or may be historically underrepresented in governance, or who represent some of the diverse elements of the public of the State of Washington. The purpose of the At-Large Governor position is to ensure that the Board of Governors will be a more diverse and representative body.
  • ARC Reception: The Council hosts an annual welcome reception for students in the Academic Resource Center (ARC) at Seattle University School of Law. Seattle University School of Law recognized the importance of creating this access admissions program to provide access to a legal education and support for applicants from underrepresented communities. Applicants who have not been in an academic setting for a number of years, have been culturally, economically, or historically disadvantaged, have learning or physical disabilities, and have indicators that show the applicant can compete in law school are considered for this program.

FY 2022 Workgroups

The DEI Council has several workgroups which include:

  • Definition of Diversity: This workgroup is evaluating the current definition of “diversity” in the WSBA Bylaws and determining whether it promotes the WSBA’s goals on diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Law Student Pipeline: This workgroup is working on identifying and implementing ways to partner with the Washington law schools and other organizations (undergrad, high schools, and nonprofits) to support law students with lived experiences from systemically oppressed communities.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Plan: This workgroup is setting out a planning process to evaluate the 2013 Diversity & Inclusion Plan and create a new plan.

DEI Council Meeting Schedule

DEI Council meetings occur virtually the second Monday of each month noon to 1:30 p.m. unless otherwise stated below. 

Anyone is welcome to attend a meeting.


Next Council Meeting

Date: Monday, Aug. 8, 2022
Time: Noon–1:30 p.m.
Link to access the Zoom meeting:  https://wsba.zoom.us/j/81311944381?pwd=RnVyOTFFV0xsejRRKzBJbDBGTnFQZz09 

Telephone participant information 

LOCAL OPTION: 253-215-8782
TOLL-FREE OPTION: 888-788-0099 
Meeting ID: 813 1194 4381
Passcode: 506385

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities will be provided upon request. Please email diversity@wsba.org

 


Meeting Minutes

Fiscal Year 2022

June 2022
July 2022

 

Fiscal Year 2021

October 2020
November 2020
December 2020
January 2021
February 2021

 

Council Members

2021–2022

Mubarak Abdur Raheem
Cory Beetley
Luís Beltrán
WSBA Gov. Lauren Boyd
Danitza Casselman
Megan Dawson
WSBA Gov. Matthew Dresden
Michele Fukawa
Janice Langbehn
SanNi Lemonidis
Maria Little
Shirley Prasad
Monica Reinmiller
Sharon Sakamoto
WSBA Gov. Alec Stephens
Christopher Swaby

Council Co-chairs:

Nam Nguyen
WSBA Gov. Sunitha Anjilvel

Staff Liaisons:

Diana Singleton, Chief Equity and Justice Officer
Imani Shannon, Equity and Justice Lead

Law School Representatives:

Laine Ellison, Gonzaga University
Minerva Gomez, Seattle University
Yaseen Harris, University of Washington
Kanani Palafox, Seattle University
Mariah Welch, Gonzaga University

Help advance WSBA's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession. Learn more about joining the WSBA DEI Council by emailing diversity@wsba.org.