Virginia Lawyer

VaLawyer_Feb2012

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Noteworthy > ET AL. Increasing Diversity in the Legal Profession (Part II) by Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr. In the December edition of Virginia Lawyer, I reported on the November 10– 12, 2011, conference at the University of Virginia Law School on "Increasing Diversity In The Legal Profession" spon- sored by the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, the Black Law Students Association, the Student Legal Forum of the University of Virginia School of Law, and the Virginia State Bar Conference on Diversity. The December article focused on the November 10 and 11 sessions. They addressed the need for filling the "pipeline" of prospective lawyers with a population that will result in a diverse profession, and concerns facing the law school community about achieving their goals of producing a cadre of lawyers inclusive of all segments of our society. Discussions at the interactive meet- ing evolved into dialogues questioning the Langdell teaching method followed in most law schools, and the significance of the LSAT and bar examinations. I regret the article erroneously stated that the Bar Exam Panel "questioned the necessity for any bar exam." This issue was not raised by the panel but by the audience. It is my opinion that it should be looked at in the context of a broad review of the manner in which lawyers are developed. The highlight of the conference was the keynote address of the Honorable S. Bernard Goodwyn, Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, on Saturday afternoon. Goodwyn's remarks were insightful, inspirational, and informative. His talk laid out the objective and prag- matic reasons why it is important that the legal profession be inclusive and rep- resentative of all members of our multi- cultural and multi-ethnic society. First: It is Goodwyn's view that diversity creates a larger knowledge base. He stated that people who come from dif- ferent backgrounds have different per- 26 VIRGINIA LAWYER | February 2012 | Vol. 60 spectives, and that such a larger, more diverse, knowledge pool yields better solutions to legal problems. Second: He believes strongly that diversity makes people who become entangled in the law better respect the law. When the lawyers, judges, court offi- cials and prosecutors in the legal system are inclusive of the diverse make-up of the community, and the people feel that all groups are participating in the legal process, they feel better about the result, even when it is unfavorable to them. Third: Goodwyn feels that diversity is important because input from all sectors of society is important to deliv- ery of just results. Finally: Goodwyn related that in order to ensure diversity, it is necessary to grow a cadre of lawyers that receive the training and experience needed to move up in the profession. In other words, we need to develop a "deep bench" of professionals from all elements of society, who aspire to and qualify for upward mobility, to be groomed to reach the zenith of the profession. Goodwyn provided an excellent backdrop to virtually all of the chal- lenges discussed during the conference. The panel discussions focused on strate- gies and programs needed to implement the objective. The first panel on Saturday began with an excellent interactive discussion on the importance of young lawyers reaching out to the community. Panelists discussed how community involvement not only provides visibility, and an opportunity to develop leadership, but also can inspire young students to enter the profession, thereby expanding the pipeline. Alex N. Levay Jr. served as modera- tor and Michael D. Pace of Gentry, Rakes, and Moore, Richard C. "Rip" Sullivan Jr. of Reed Smith, Dana Weekes of Patton Boggs, and Michael HuYoung of Barnes and Deihl comprised this out- standing panel. The Rule of Law pro- gram, which was initiated by Pace and has been expanded throughout the state and beyond, was discussed, and cited as an example of an opportunity for com- munity involvement by young lawyers. Weekes, a recent graduate of the University of Virginia Law School, was instrumental in establishing the "Girls in Power" program in Washington, DC. That program, which helps underprivi- leged young women to organize them- selves, set goals and navigate the world, was also discussed as an example of the type of community involvement that can get young lawyers involved in the community. Young, chair of the Diversity Conference, provided perhaps the most sage advice for young lawyers when he suggested that they make an impression on the community and formulate their own pipeline project in their own time. The early morning panel was fol- lowed by an outstanding discussion of what lawyers of diverse backgrounds need to do to become successful in the profession, moderated by former state bar president and founder of the Diversity Conference, Manuel A. Capsalis. The members of the panel were Jackie Stone, hiring partner of McGuire Woods, Tyree Jones, a litigation partner at Reed Smith, and Kamran Q. Khan, who manages litigation and regulatory matters for Altria. Panel members stressed that in order to gain experience and become successful, young lawyers must develop a mentor to guide and support them. They must also work hard and seek out opportunities for development. The dialogue in both of the morning panels fit well with Goodwyn's remarks. The final panel on Saturday after- noon included Kenneth Imo of Wilmer Hale as moderator, and Molly Remes of www.vsb.org

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