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Bar Council recommends diversity conference (access required)

The Virginia State Bar Council voted Thursday to expand its powers “to encourage and promote diversity in the profession and the judiciary” and to add a fourth conference to its structure to flesh out the expansion. After two hours plus of debate, the vote was 51 to 13 with one abstention to expand council’s powers a d ...

2 comments

  1. The problem with adding the promotion of diversity to the mission statement is that in effect it declares that there will be times when there is a choice between promoting diversity and promoting professional excellence, and that we may choose diversity over professional excellence.

    One can make the argument, as the Old Dominion Bar Association does, that diversity enriches the profession, and law schools and private organizations are welcome to encourage it. I don’t even have a problem if the VSB has some programs that encourage it (although expect a fight about what gets included under that umbrella). But when you make the promotion of diversity SEPARATE and DISTINCT from the original mission of promoting professional excellence, you take VSB efforts away from its core mission. You will have people at the VSB who have no role in professional excellence, but only in making sure certain groups get a bigger piece of the pie at the expense of other groups. Is that really what my dues are for?

    We are either an organization dedicated to ensuring competent representation or we are not. This proposal feels more like a political power play than anything else. The idea that someone created a task force and that task force comes up with “let’s change the mission to favor our preferred interest groups”, and that it goes so far as to get a board vote borders on farce.

    Voters should consider this vote’s impact on the VSB’s credibility. If the VSB wants to be seen as a professional, independent organization that rules without fear nor favor, rather than just another group captured by special interests, it’ll vote this down.

  2. I agree with Richmond Lawyer. It will lead to lower professional standards. It is a mistake.

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