Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Resources
Welcome to the MassNAELA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee’s (DEI Committee) Research and Resources webpage! The DEI Committee was created in July of 2020 in support of MassNAELA’s commitment to “more tightly align our advocacy with what this country should be doing to put a stop to all healthcare, educational and societal inequities and disparities.” The DEI Committee established three principles/goals:
- Increase and diversify our community outreach to diverse audiences and communities;
- Expand membership representation to reflect diverse audiences and communities; and
- Develop programs and training reflective of the chapter’s commitment to supporting and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
If you would like to become more involved in these efforts please contact Co-Chairs Matthew Albanese (email@example.com) and Paula Nedder (firstname.lastname@example.org). Below are links to several resources, trainings, articles, and other information to help you and your practice to be more inclusive and equitable.
- FROM THE MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT STANDING COMMITTEE ON LAWYER WELL-BEING: (Click Here for the report) report Summarizing Affinity Bar Town Hall Meetings. Last week the SJC released a special report from the Standing Committee for Lawyer Well Being. The Report provides a summary of meetings conducted in the second half of 2020 to hear from attorneys and law students from underrepresented, historically excluded, and systemically oppressed populations about their recent experiences of Massachusetts law practice and culture. As Committee Co-Chairs Retired SJC Associate Justice Margot Botsford and current Massachusetts Bar Association President Denise Murphy describe: “This report is a reality check for those among us who think that all Massachusetts lawyers are treated equally and that our efforts to eliminate systemic bias are working. As difficult as it is to read this report and all that it contains, imagine having to live these experiences, every day. We need to understand and acknowledge this current reality in order to work meaningfully to improve the legal profession for the future. For more information about the Standing Committee: https://lawyerwellbeingma.org/news/for-immediate-release-a-report-summarizing-affinity-bar-town-hall-meetings
- BECOMING AN ANTIRACIST LAWYER (Click Here) – This hour-long video incorporates foundational lessons in race and critical race theory, as well as hypotheticals, to help law students and lawyers enact antiracism in their practice of law. The presenters identify three steps to becoming antiracist lawyers: 1) educate ourselves and accept the ways in which we perpetuate racism; 2) understand that there is no neutral position – there is either racism or anti-racism, but no “not racist” stance; and 3) approach the law critically – interrogate claims of neutrality in case law, and in policies, as well as in the workplace and in legal organizations. Together, the presenters and audience explore two hypotheticals – one involving implicit bias in the workplace, and the other involving a client who is perpetuating a racist policy. Ensuing discussion provides concrete ways to enact antiracism in both scenarios.
- RACE AND CONTRACT LAW (Click Here) – An interesting presentation with short case studies on how contract law cases can both move contract law precepts forward and exhibit or further racial injustice. Discussions with students and faculty at the end include Critical Race Theory, racial subordination and equality in a law school curriculum, consumer protection laws, and continuing efforts to expose racism in other areas of the law and in law schools.
- From the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (Click Here) – an important message about racial injustice: and the practice of law
Is the struggle for equal treatment and acceptance over once a Black lawyer is working in her chosen profession? Not necessarily. For Greater Boston Legal Services housing attorney Danielle Johnson, she faces discrimination on a daily basis in the subtle and often upspoken ways. Court security giving her bar credentials greater scrutiny, her white and minority clients questioning whether she is up to the job, and often being the only minority attorney in the court room. This eye opening article provides you with Attorney Johnson’s first hand experience as to what it is like to be a Black attorney in one of the busiest courts in Boston.
Your MassNAELA DEI Committee has been hard at work looking for ways to diversify our Chapter as one of our strategic goals. One way to accomplish this would be to add more diverse Elder and Special Needs Law attorneys to our mix. If you have an employment opportunity in your office, we suggest that in addition to the usual sources you also consider listing your position with Massachusetts Affinity Bars, such as the Mass. Black Lawyers Association or the Mass. Association of Hispanic Attorneys. Click on the button above to view the contact information for these Affinity Bars with links to their web pages. On several of these pages there is the opportunity to post a job opportunity and we would encourage you to do so. If we all work together, we can make MassNAELA a more inclusive and interesting group to be part of.