Group will study legal system to identify methods to address root causes of inequities in the profession, law
New Jersey State Bar Association President Kimberly A. Yonta has created the NJSBA Commission on Racial Equity in the Law, a panel of leaders in the profession that will take an incisive study of the legal system to identify methods of addressing root causes of inequities in the profession and in the law.
“The murder of George Floyd, the disparate impact of COVID-19 and numerous other events have put the nation’s structural inequities into sharp focus,” Yonta said. “This is an inflection point after centuries of oppression and inequality. To meet the urgent needs of this moment, the NJSBA must champion specific strategies that break down the barriers of systemic bias and discrimination.”
The Commission will identify those strategies and look specifically at ongoing anti-Black racism in the legal system and in the practice of law.
Leading the Commission as co-chairs are Carolyn V. Chang, a Burlington County family lawyer, former mayor, and former president of the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey; and G. Glennon Troublefield, an Essex County commercial litigation and intellectual property lawyer, NJSBA Trustee, and past Chair of the American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section.
Chang and Troublefield expressed their gratitude to the NJSBA for creating the Commission to do a critical task and said they are looking forward to getting to work.
Chang said, “The conversations facilitated by this Commission will be sometimes angry and uncomfortable, but righteous and hopefully will lead to lasting positive change thereby transforming the thoughts and behavior of many.”
Troublefield said, “I am looking forward to facilitating honest and, perhaps, uncomfortable conversations about the deleterious effects of racism and discrimination, particularly as they impact the legal profession.
“I am confident that the attorneys, leaders, and stakeholders within our state are poised to cultivate effective short- and long-term changes that will result in economic and political empowerment for people of color. We look forward to the support and participation of all members of the bar; we can be most effective by forming strategic alliances as a means to achieve our goals. The work of the Commission will remain politically agnostic while boldly advocating for racial equality based on the rule of law and the pursuit of justice.”
Commission on Racial Equity in the Law Members
Carolyn V. Chang, co-chair
G. Glennon Troublefield, co-chair
Nina D. Bonner
Raymond M. Brown
Dean L. Burrell
Ehsan F. Chowdhry
Norma R. Evans
Hon. Travis L. Francis, AJSC (ret.)
Norberto A. Garcia
Robyn B. Gigl
Ayesha Krishnan Hamilton
Steve G. Hockaday
Emily S. Kelchen
Hon. Lawrence M. Lawson, AJSC (ret.)
James A. Lewis V
Lawrence S. Lustberg
Eugenia M. Lynch
Julien X. Neals
Cheyne R. Scott
John L. Shahdanian II
Tracy M. Thompson
Maria P. Vallejo
Kimberly A. Yonta