Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession Urges Diversity as Ethical Obligation
IILP thinks that it is necessary not to lose sight of the most important: Diversity is the right thing to do. With that in mind, on September 14, 2012 IILP Chair Marc Firestone and ABA Illinois State Delegate Robert A.
Clifford sent a letter to leaders in the American Bar Association ("ABA") to suggest that the ABA amend the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to include a section under which efforts to advance diversity and inclusion in the legal profession would become an ethical obligation of lawyers. The letter was directed to the ABA President, President-Elect, Chair of the ABA House of Delegates, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, the Co-Chairs of the ABA's Ethics 20/20 Committee, and the Executive Director. Mr. Clifford was asked to co-sign the letter as he represents Illinois in the ABA House of Delegates -- the policy making body within the ABA that will have ultimate responsibility for adopting such an amendment -- and Illinois is one of a handful of states that already specifically includes diversity as a component of professional responsibility. Such an amendment to the Model Rules would be significant in that most states use the Model Rules as the basis for their local rules of professional conduct; once adopted by a state, it would elevate the importance the legal profession places upon diversity and inclusion, and hopefully encourage more lawyers to learn about and work on these issues. To read the letter to the ABA, please go to www.TheIILP.com/ModelRules.
Assuming that the ABA agrees with IILP, the next step will be for the ABA's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility or one of its other committees to begin to draft a resolution -- called a Report with Recommendations -- that would eventually be voted upon (and hopefully adopted) by the ABA House of Delegates.
For more information on the IILP, contact Sandra S. Yamate,
Chief Executive Officer, INSTITUTE FOR INCLUSION IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION at (312) 628-5885 or Sandra.Yamate@TheIILP.com