Executive Director's Page
Projects! Projects! Projects! TYLA Continues to Lead on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Each year, the State Bar of Texas local Bar Leaders Conference features a breakout session titled “Projects! Projects! Projects!” where speakers from the Texas Young Lawyers Association and local young lawyer affiliates showcase their successful and innovative programs that local bar associations can duplicate. That session title—with three exclamation points—tells you a lot about TYLA. It speaks to both the number of projects our young lawyer leaders create each year and the energy they bring to their work.
Take, for example, TYLA’s efforts on diversity. Working in partnership with the State Bar, the TYLA Board of Directors has created and rolled out a number of projects in recent years aimed at increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession. These projects range from blogs and podcasts that amplify diverse voices to pipeline projects designed to help increase the number of minority lawyers in Texas to more closely reflect the state’s diverse population.
This year, TYLA President Britney Harrison is stressing the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in every project the board is developing. Part of her vision and directive for the projects is to ensure participation by diverse speakers and writers from all parts of Texas. Some specific projects include:
Racial Justice Committee: This committee is charged with developing meaningful content and materials for the Racial Justice Hub, a website that will include information about racial justice, anti-racism, and allyship for lawyers and members of the public.
Iconic Women in Legal History: Through a generous grant from the Texas Bar Foundation, TYLA is developing the Iconic Women in Legal History project, which aims to highlight and explore the roles of women who helped shape our culture and advance civil and legal rights. The project will highlight Black women and other minorities who are often left out of history books.
Leadership Toolkit for Smaller/Rural Affiliates: A portion of this toolkit is devoted to diversity and inclusion in leadership.
I applaud President Harrison and the TYLA board for their leadership on these issues. The State Bar Board of Directors is also pursuing potential new diversity initiatives through the newly created Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Justice in Leadership Workgroup and through other efforts approved by the board at special meetings in July and September.1
Why is this the State Bar’s role? Diversity programs are necessary to address the lingering effects of discrimination in the legal profession and legal education. These efforts help lawyers and courts bring a range of viewpoints to bear on legal problems facing our state and help the State Bar achieve its mission of promoting diversity in the administration of justice and the practice of law and improving the quality of legal services in Texas.
As TYLA Immediate Past President Victor A. Flores likes to say, we are better together. So let’s keep working together to achieve a better, stronger, and more unified Texas Bar for all members.
Executive Director, State Bar of Texas
Editor-in-Chief, Texas Bar Journal
Trey Apffel can be reached at 512-427-1500, firstname.lastname@example.org or @ApffelT on Twitter.
TYLA Diversity Projects
TYLA created the following diversity projects as resources for lawyers and law students—or anyone curious about the law or a legal career. You can find most of these projects and many more resources at tyla.org.
• I Was The First. You Can Be A Lawyer Too!
• Lawyers Who Lunch
• Young Gunners
• Speed Mentoring for Women Law Students
• Strength in Unity
• TYLA Diversity Dinner
• Pregnancy and the Workplace: Know Your Rights
• Pregnancy and the Workplace: Know Your Obligations
• Retention Guide
• Affiliate Diversity Toolkit