ABA Midyear Meeting

Encourage continuing legal education on diversity and inclusion, House urges

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The ABA’s House of Delegates easily adopted a resolution Monday afternoon encouraging programs on diversity and inclusion in the legal profession as part of mandatory or minimum continuing legal education requirements.

Resolution 107 asks licensing and regulatory authorities that require MCLE to make diversity and inclusion programs a separate credit, but without increasing the total number of hours required. It was introduced by the ABA’s Diversity & Inclusion 360 Commission, a major project of ABA President Paulette Brown.

Commission co-chair Eileen Letts, of the firm of Greene and Letts in Chicago, said only two states, California and Minnesota, currently have diversity and inclusion requirements as a separate credit in their MCLE requirements. Oregon and others require it as part of ethics requirements. Therefore, Letts said, the resolution “has the potential to significantly enhance the legal profession, the judicial system and the practice of law.”

No one spoke in opposition, though a New York state delegate asked why religion was not part of the definition of diversity. Letts said this is because the resolution adopts a definition of diversity that tracks the ABA’s Goal III, adopted in 2008 to eliminate bias and enhance diversity within the legal profession.

The measure passed on a voice vote.

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