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STATEMENT OF PURPOSE, PRINCIPLES AND OBJECTIVES

for the

DIVERSITY INITIATIVE

of the

ALLEGHENY COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the Allegheny County Bar Association's Diversity Initiative is to significantly increase the number of diverse lawyers who practice in Allegheny County.  The signatories of this Statement of Purpose pledge significant leadership and resource commitments to short-term, intermediate, and long-term goals that will meet the purposes of the Initiative.  The mutual support and commitment of our organizations will be aided by collaborative work with the Allegheny County Bar Association, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and Duquesne University School of Law.

Statement of Principles

We understand and accept the value of diversity in our legal organizations.  We believe that diversity promotes a vital, well-functioning, and successful business enterprise.  However, changing the status quo requires us as leaders of our legal organizations to make this firm and unequivocal commitment to the principles of change.  We believe that collaboration among the law firms and law departments along with the Allegheny County Bar Association and the two Pittsburgh-area law schools is important to long-term change because common problems confront us in successfully attracting and retaining diverse lawyers as well as staff.  We also recognize that, in order to accomplish effective change, our legal organizations must devote a sustained effort to the process and must commit to participate and to provide meaningful resources over many years.

Statement of Objectives

By signing this Statement of Purpose, Principles and Objectives, we commit our legal organizations to the following:

  1. Recruiting diverse lawyers:  Each year beginning with 2004, we shall conduct our recruiting efforts in a way that conscientiously seeks out, evaluates, and considers diverse candidates for regular employment.  We agree to recognize the full range of an individual's attributes such as character, temperament, life experience, and potential that can contribute to the future success of our organization, along with such other academic achievements as are reasonably needed to perform successfully in our organizations, while being consistent with the needs of our organizations.
  2. Diverse hiring:  Consistent with these recruiting efforts, we shall offer employment to diverse candidates whom we recruit, in order to meet their professional objectives and our business needs.
  3. Mentoring of diverse lawyers:  Recognizing that lawyers’ professional success is often dependent on the assistance and guidance of peers and seniors, we commit to a supportive program of mentoring diverse lawyers who are hired by our organizations in order to optimize their individual and our collective success.
  4. Support of collective efforts through the bar association:  We commit our organizations to support those activities of the Allegheny County Bar Association which will collaboratively advance its Diversity Initiative by participating in the development of one or more particular projects of this Diversity Initiative, including programs such as activities that law firms, corporate law departments, and government agencies may utilize to increase the number of diverse lawyers who practice in Allegheny County:  a summer law student clerkship program, a summer high school internship program, high school student mentoring, job fairs, career counseling, moot court, diversity training, administrative assistant development programs, diversification of non-legal positions, involvement of other professional organizations in Allegheny County, and more.  We shall also support the Allegheny County Bar Association Diversity Initiative by contributing time and/or financial resources for these and other programs such as appropriately-administered scholarships and projects that help students attend law school.
  5. Submission of statistical data:  In order to measure the accomplishments of the ACBA Diversity Initiative, we shall complete an annual survey of employment practices that will be compiled by the Allegheny County Bar Association.  This data will be collected and maintained on a highly confidential basis, and the individual statistics will remain confidential at all times.

While this Diversity Initiative is a collaborative effort to increase the number of diverse attorneys in Allegheny County, it is our intention, due to the differences in the level of resources available to each organization, to develop individualized programs aimed at fulfilling this commitment to diversity while conforming to our particular cultures.

Date:  JULY 1, 2004