Arizona State Bar Leadership Institute, Class of 2020-2021
1220 E. Medlock Dr. Apt. 201
Phoenix, AZ 85014
618-317-0861 [email protected]
Bar #: 033749
I submit this comment in unwavering support of this amendment to Sup. Ct. Rule 45(a)(2) requiring active attorneys to dedicate no less than one hour of CLE to training on diversity and inclusion as part of the existing mandatory professional responsibility requirement for each educational year.
We are fortunate enough to live as citizens and lawyers in an incredibly rich and diverse society comprised of many different races, colors, creeds, national origins, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Our legal community is a reflection of that diversity. As attorneys and leaders in our communities, we are our best and brightest when we draw strength and vision from viewpoints that differ from our own. We have a moral and social responsibility as lawyers to improve the legal system, and the promotion of greater understanding and inclusivity in the justice system at every possible opportunity is a natural corollary of that duty.
The State Bar of Arizona has long embraced diversity and inclusion as critical components of its Core Values. This is unsurprising, as diversity and inclusion are essential to improving the legal system aside and boast intrinsic value in and of themselves. This amendment simply formalizes the State Bar's expectation for Arizona lawyers to advocate on behalf of diversity and inclusion in our field.
If we wish to be on the cutting edge of social progress, we must remain steadfast in our pursuit of social equality and equal opportunity in our everyday practice. This can only be achieved if we adhere to the basic principles that distinguish us as attorneys and demonstrate sensitivity to, and awareness of, the social, economic, and geographical diversity that characterizes the world we interact with on a daily basis.
This proposed rule amendment will require attorneys to engage with cultures and viewpoints that differ from their own by imposing a basic education obligation that all members of the State Bar must observe annually. While this amendment in no way guarantees social equality in the justice system, it nevertheless is a small - yet significant - measure that moves us all forward towards a more perfect society. By requiring individual lawyers to devote a portion of their time each year to understanding different perspectives and studying the importance of inclusivity we improve the legal system as a whole. I cannot think of a better use of a lawyer's time.
By supporting this change to Sup. Ct. Rule 45(a)(a) we honor our commitment to the Core Values of the Arizona State Bar and to the eradication of systemic injustice. By adopting this change, we openly profess our fidelity to the Rule of Law and fair justice for all. I ask all of you to join me in endorsing this amendment without reservation as we take the next step towards progressing our field together.