NJSBA policy sets expectations for diversity on CLE panels

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February 4, 2020
Contact: Paula Saha

NEW BRUNSWICK - The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) has reinforced its ­commitment to diversity and inclusion by adopting a formal policy laying out expectations for continuing legal education (CLE) panels and presentations.
“It is a stated goal of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Board of Trustees to increase diversity on CLE panels and presentations, so as to better reflect the diversity of the legal profession and our membership,” the policy reads. “We expect sections and planning committees to consider this goal when planning their seminars.”
“The impact of this policy is already being felt,” said NJSBA President Evelyn Padin. “As sections and committees are submitting their program ideas for this year’s Annual Meeting, the NJSBA staff is reviewing proposed panels to ensure they reflect the diversity of our profession overall.”
The new diversity and CLE policy builds upon the NJSBA’s commitment to promoting and fostering a diverse and inclusive bar association, a commitment that was strategically laid out in the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan adopted by the Board of Trustees in 2015. The NJSBA recognizes that the broad concept of diversity includes race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age and disability.
The new CLE policy further codifies the association’s commitment, and reflects the board’s aim of making diversity and inclusion a permanent and integral part of the NJSBA’s mission and purpose.
In addition, this year’s call for speakers for the Annual Meeting includes a section where organizers must explain how their proposed program reflects the NJSBA’s commitment to diversity.
In a related effort, the association is putting together an internal resource of diverse speakers that may be consulted for both NJSBA and New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education programs.
“We must be active and intentional in our diversity and inclusion efforts,” Padin said. “We have already reached out to affinity bars to ensure their participation in our speaker resource, and I call on everyone in our profession—including the county and practice-specific bar groups—to join in making real, practical progress on this issue.”
Anyone interested in submitting their name to this resource can do so through the NJSBA website, njsba.com. Anyone interested in finding a speaker through the resource can contact Paula Saha, director of diversity, inclusion and community engagement, at 732-214-8509.