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Diversity & Inclusion


The State Bar of Wisconsin Diversity Clerkship Program, a limited-term summer employment experience, gives first-year law students with diverse backgrounds the opportunity to bulid legal practice skills and knowledge. The program, now in its 28th year, has graduated more than 500 students. Shown above are students from the 2019 class.

Defining Diversity and Inclusion

In 2014, the State Bar of Wisconsin Board of Governors adopted a comprehensive plan to foster systemic changes that support diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. As part of this plan, the Board adopted this broad and flexible definition of diversity and inclusion:

"The term 'diversity' has a dynamic meaning that evolves as the demographics in the state change. It is an inclusive concept that encompasses, among other things, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, age, sexual orientation and disability. Inclusion helps to create a culture that embraces people from the widest range of talent and experience and promotes understanding and respect for all people and different points of view in the legal profession."

What We Are Doing

Racial Equity: It's Time to Step Up
Whether we realize it or not, all of us are negatively impacted by the long history and sustained legacy of oppression of Black Americans. As lawyers, we have a duty to act. We have a respons​ibility to our communities.

Making a Difference: State Bar Hosts ​Expungement Clinic and Local Advocacy Meetings​​​​​
The State Bar of Wisconsin works with local Bars a​nd ​legal organizations to host an expungement clini​c and legislator meeting in Kenosha and a legislator meet-and-greet in Oconomowoc ​​in September 2021.​​

Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan
The State Bar of Wisconsin’s overarching goal is to model diversity and inclusion across the organization. This multifaceted approach drives the work of our activities within State Bar leadership, management and staff; internally at the operational level; in our content, communications and programming; and externally in our outreach and community partnerships. This Action Plan was presented and unanimously approved by the Board of Governors, for implementation to begin July 1, 2019.

The Diversity & Inclusion Trailblazer Award
The State Bar of Wisconsin Diversity & Inclusion Oversight Committee inaugurated its Diversity & Inclusion Trailblazer Award in 2019 to celebrate those who contribute to and enhances diversity and inclusion within the legal profession in Wisconsin.

Do you know someone deserving of this award?

The committee is seeking nominations for an individual who:

  • is a State Bar member in good standing;
  • shows dedicated service to their clients and to the legal profession as a whole; and
  • has participated in activities that increase the public's awareness of diversity and inclusion efforts in the legal profession.​

Nominations are due by January 31, 2023 - include a brief description of why the individual should be nominated and how their work meets the award criteria.

Submit nominations to Jacque Evans, the State Bar Diversity & Inclusion Specialist at Any questions call Jacque, 608.250.6083. ​

Recipient of last year's award is Marisol Gonzalez Castillo​.​​

Diversity Clerkship Program: Building Careers
The State Bar’s Diversity Clerkship Program is a 10-weeks, paid summer employment opportunity where first-year Marquette University Law School and University of Wisconsin Law School students with diverse backgrounds are matched with a wide array of employers from private law firms, corporate legal departments and governmental agencies. Student clerks gain practical legal experience, and participating employers obtain valuable legal support.

Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Carl Ashley took the Harvard Implicit Bias Test. “It indicated, I had bias,” he said. So he took the test a second time.

Recruitment for the 2022 Diversity Clerkship Program is complete. If you are interested in learning more about the program, please contact Jacque Evans, 608-250-6083,​

​Thank you to the 2022 Employers of the Diversity Clerkship Program!

  • Alliant Energy
  • Bell, Moore & Richter, S.C.
  • Cade Law Group LLC
  • Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I.
  • Dane County Corporation Counsel​
  • Fiserv
  • GE Healthcare
  • Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman, P.C.
  • Hawks Quindel
  • Johnson Teigan LLC
  • Kohler Co.
  • Legal Action of Wisconsin​, Inc.
  • Madison City Attorney's Office
  • Meissner Tierney Fisher & Nichols S.C.
  • Milwaukee City Attorney's Office
  • Molson Coors Beverage Company
  • The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company
  • Ogden Glazer & Schaefer​
  • Ohiku Law Office​
  • Quartz Health Solutions, Inc.
  • Racine City Attorney's Office
  • Regal Rexnord Corporation
  • Stafford and Rosenbaum LLP
  • Wisconsin Department of Corrections
  • Wisconsin Department of Justice
  • Zendesk​​, Inc.​

2021 Champion of Diversity: Wisconsin Department of Corrections​​​​

DOC Receiving Award.jpg

The Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Kevin A. Carr (right) and members of the DOC’s legal team pose with DCP clerk Jodi Chung (center) as they accept the 2021 Champion of Diversity Award. Members of the legal team who worked with Chung over the summer include, Jad Itani, who participated in the clerkship program with the department as a 1L and is now with the department's Office of Legal Counsel (second from right); Matthew Foley, chief legal counsel (second from left); Glen Mercier, legal office manager (left). Find out more about the State Bar of Wisconsin Diversity Clerkship Program.​​

Learn From Thought Leaders

Final Thought: Expungement Clinics: Removing Barriers​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Criminal records can cause long-term collateral damage to a person's life, far greater than the sentence itself. The State Bar is zealously ​advocating expungement reform as an access to justice priority​, and you can help.

President’s Message: Why Diversity and Inclusion are Important
Jill Kastner, 2019-2020 State Bar president, says she prioritizes diversity and inclusion because implicit bias is a very real problem that adversely affect our entire system of justice.

Three Women Lawyer-Leaders Make WAAL History
"We get the job done," says Makda Fessahaye, one of three women leading the charge at the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers (WAAL).

From Lip Service to Commitment: A More Inclusive Profession
Despite stronger support in recent years for diversity and inclusion within the legal profession, progress is lagging. Here’s how legal employers can pick up the pace for attracting and retaining a wide range of talent.

Don’t Forget About Women Lawyers of Color
Women of color in the legal profession must deal with the belief that traditional gender roles of women are at odds with the necessary attributes of a good leader and stereotypes about people of color that are applied to women with extra force.

Know Your Bias
Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Carl Ashley took the Harvard Implicit Bias Test. Find out what he learned.

Take the Harvard Implicit Bias Test
Designed by researchers at Harvard University, tests our implicit associations about race, gender, sexual orientation, and other topics.

Implicit Bias in the Legal Profession: Dana Tippin Cutler Has a Way Forward

Diversity & Inclusion Resources

This is a great place to start if you are looking for information on why diversity and inclusion matters, ways to expand diversity of leadership, or ways to expand diversity of membership.

Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Committee: Ensuring Our Commitment

The Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Committee (DIOC) is central to the success of the Bar's commitment to diversity and inclusion. The committee assists, coordinates and facilitates diversity efforts within all entities of the Bar. The committee is also responsible for institutionalizing and implementing the Bar's ultima​te action plan with regard to diversity and inclusion.

To learn more or volunteer, please contact Jacque Evans at je​​.​​​​​​​​