Emily A. Kaller, a partner in the firm’s Litigation Department, will be a panelist for a program on “Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging: Tools for Eliminating Barriers to Opportunity in the Legal Profession,” to be presented as a live webcast by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education on Thursday, December 17, 2020 from 9:00am – 11:00am.
Diversity and inclusion may have finally made it into the lexicon of most legal employers and into many workplace cultures, but the statistical story for diverse legal professionals in recent years remained one of almost negligible positive change. The events of 2020 have challenged us all and exacerbated the burdens that disproportionally impact members of diverse communities, including attorneys and other legal professionals at all levels of experience and in all sectors. But the new reality also illuminates the role legal professional settings have in responding to these challenges and the opportunities presented for further eliminating the effects of structural barriers that inhibit the experiences of belonging in diverse professional settings. Increasing representation and promoting inclusivity in our workplaces (whether virtual or physical) are starting points in building workplace cultures and employing operational structures that are rooted in empowering legal professionals rather than simply managing them. But there are more tools and opportunities to eliminate the effects of implicit and structural biases once workplaces become more diverse and inclusive.
As the range of legal work environments strive to strengthen recruiting and hiring practices, it is not enough to seek diverse representation. It is not enough to invite people to the table. To create professional environments where all legal professionals thrive as their most authentic selves, we must address inclusion, retention, and belonging. To achieve the goals of diversity, inclusion, and belonging in legal professional settings we must understand the structural and interpersonal dynamics that shape diverse workplace cultures.
This program, which offers Ethics/Professionalism credits and satisfies the new Diversity, Inclusion, and Elimination of Bias credit requirement, considers successful strategies that actively and purposefully dismantle legal workplace dynamics that unintentionally yet materially delay, inhibit, or even preclude professional success for many attorneys. The presentation will:
- Provide a foundation on the manifestation of implicit bias and microaggressions in professional contexts;
- Consider the goals/values of diversity, inclusion, and belonging in professional legal settings;
- Examine the structural and professional cultural barriers to opportunity in the legal profession; and
- Explore strategies for eliminating barriers to diversity, inclusion, and belonging by examining the culture and operational practices of a variety of legal professional settings.
Ms. Kaller is President of Trial Attorneys of New Jersey, Vice Chair of the NJSBA Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Rights Section, Past Chair of the NJSBA Women in the Profession Section, and an appointed member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Women in the Courts. She focuses her practice on commercial litigation and has experience in the prosecution and defense of financing, credit and other banking matters, contract disputes, environmental matters, and complex litigation.
Additional program information and registration information can be found on NJSBA's website.