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 responsibility to our communities.
FY2020 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.
Recipients of the award are Miriam Horwitz (2019) and Anza D'Antonio (2020).
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.
We are currently seeking employers to participate in the 2021 program year. If you are interested in participating or learning more about the program, please contact Kim Burns, (608) 250-6181, org kburns wisbar wisbar kburns org.
A special thanks to our 2020 employers:
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.
- Alliant Energy
- Bell Moore & Richter SC
- Fiserv Inc.
- Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs (Madison
- Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs (Milwaukee)
- Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman PC
- The Law Office of Odalo J. Ohiku
- Madison City Attorney's Office
- Milwaukee City Attorney's Office
- Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.
- SmithAmundsen LLC
- Wisconsin Dept. of Justice
Attorney Chris Hughes, Stafford Rosenbaum LLP, holds the State Bar's 2019 Champions of Diversity Award he accepted on behalf of his organization for their 20 years' participation in the Diversity Clerkship program. With Attorney Hughes is diversity clerkship participant Mathias Rekowski, front left, and the Stafford Rosenbaum team. The 2020 Diversity Clerkship Reception will be held virtually on July 30.
Learn From Thought Leaders
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
Dana Tippin Cutler, former president of the Misssouri Bar Association, discusses an approach to talk about diversity and implicit bias, through Courageous Collaboration.
Diversity & Inclusion Resources
State Bar of Wisconsin Diversity & Inclusion Guide
This guide 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 & Inclusion Resource List
This list provides Diversity & Inclusion resources to assist in diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Diversity Committee Toolkit
This Toolkit provides actionable steps to make your committee more diverse and inclusive.
Diversity Division Toolkit
This Toolkit provides actionable steps to make your division leadership and membership more diverse and inclusive.
Diversity Section Toolkit
This Toolkit provides actionable steps to make your section leadership and membership more diverse and inclusive.
Association D&I Portal
Lean about diversity and inclusion programs, resources, and information throughout the nation.
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 ultimate action plan with regard to diversity and inclusion.
To learn more or volunteer, please contact Kim Burns at org kburns wisbar wisbar kburns org.