The Washington State Bar Association is committed to advancing diversity and inclusion within the legal profession and within our organization.
Diversity refers to meaningful representation of and equal opportunities for individuals who self identify with those groups that are under-represented in the legal profession based upon, but not limited to, disability, gender, age, familial status, race, ethnicity, religion, economic class, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Statewide geographic diversity and area of practice shall also be given consideration. According to the WSBA Diversity Committee in March 2010.
The WSBA Diversity Dictionary defines inclusion as "an environment where people invite, encourage, and incorporate different perspectives, ideas and experiences—where people feel valued for the differences they bring."
We operate from an “Inside-Out” philosophy generating institutional evaluation, reflection and change.
Diversity and Inclusion Resources for Legal Professionals and Employers
Our 2012 Membership Study found that members who identified with one or more underrepresented groups reported experiencing social, opportunity, and advancement barriers in their professional careers. These barriers included being excluded, misunderstood, offered fewer opportunities, not receiving a raise or promotion and being treated differently. The WSBA Membership Study Executive Summary shares highlights from the study.
Informed by the study results, the Board of Governors, adopted our Diversity and Inclusion Plan. The plan reflects the unique roles for which the Bar is positioned as a unified bar: to create and help nurture the conditions that will encourage diverse lawyers to enter, remain, thrive and ultimately to lead the profession and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.
2012 WSBA Diversity Study Resource Sheets for Attorneys and Law Firms
- Attracting and Retaining Diverse Attorneys
- Fact Sheet for Members 40 and Up
- Fact Sheet for Members of Racial Minorities
- Fact Sheet for Members with Disabilities/Impairments
- Fact Sheet for Members of Sexual Orientation Minorities
Unconscious Implicit Bias
Subtle, unconscious processes and preconceptions influence all decision making, whether it be a decision about litigation strategy or hiring. In turn, the unconscious/implicit biases influence the work of achieving inclusion.
- Why Effective Retention Requires Attention to Our Implicit Biases
- The Court’s Brain: Neuroscience and Judicial Decision Making in Criminal Sentencing
- Deconstruct and Superstruct: Examining Bias Across the Legal System
The Washington Race Equity & Justice Initiative (REJI) Organizational Race Equity Toolkit is designed to help organizations, particularly equity and justice-oriented legal organizations, understand and incorporate race equity into their work. Among its tools and resources, the Toolkit provides an assessment tool that organizations, particularly legal organizations, can use to assess and advance their practices, policies, and culture in order to operationalize race equity and support the development of organizational equity plans.