Legal leaders ready to discuss diversity gap in the profession

 The American Bar Association’s Minority Counsel Program brings together diverse lawyers from across the country for a three-day conference that covers topics such as the Schuette decision on affirmative action and diversifying corporate boards, government legal offices and the judiciary May 14-16 in Washington, D.C.


Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge Andre M. Davis of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Maryland Court of Special Appeals Judge Michele D. Hotten will discuss diversity in the judiciary during the luncheon program on Friday, May 16.

Veronica Villalobos, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and Bill Alvarado Rivera, former president of the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia, will focus on diversifying government legal offices during the luncheon program on Thursday, May 15.

ABA President James R. Silkenat and Paulette Brown, the ABA president-elect nominee who is slated to become the first woman of color to lead the association, will speak about meeting the needs of society and the legal profession at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Program highlights include:
General Counsel Roundtable — Karina Ayala Bermejo of Metropolitan Family Services, Monica Hargrove of Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Leslie Thornton of Washington Gas Light Co. and Thomas Evans of Walmart will conduct a Q&A on topics including diversity challenges, successes and best practices.

“Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action: Affirmative Action Again and the Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary” — NAACP Assistant General Counsel Anson Asaka and John Brittain, law professor at the University of the District of Columbia, will address the Supreme Court’s decision in this case and offer insights on residual legal issues impacting affirmative action education programs and initiatives.

“Cybersecurity and 21st Century Legal Practices” — Panelists including Associate Judge Herbert B. Dixon Jr. of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and Microsoft Assistant General Counsel Matt Lundy will explore a variety of cybersecurity topics, including the key ethical issues facing lawyers, precautions for using the cloud and “bring your own device” policies, and the legal effects of cybercrime.

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