IU – Indy’s Diversity week

October 5, 2009
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If we want law firms and legal offices to be more diverse, we should encourage diversity and inclusion at an earlier stage in the legal career, such as while in law school. Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis is doing just that by celebrating its first ever Diversity Week. The events kick off today and continue through Thursday.

The school’s Diversity Committee believed a Diversity Week would be useful to open the eyes of students, faculty, and staff at the law school to the many faces that make up the legal profession. It also hopes the event will build relationships between the law school and Indianapolis.

Even though the events are through the law school and for the benefit of IU – Indy and its students, anyone in the legal community can participate in many of the activities and get something from them.

There’s a Cultural Celebration Fair this evening from 5 to 7 p.m. in the law school’s Connor Atrium brought to you by the International Law Society and Masters of Laws Association. It’s open to the public and will feature information about countries and cultures, as well as food, music, and more.

There’s a panel discussion about the nomination of Justice Sonia Sotomayor for students at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Room 375 of the law school. That night, the Black Law Student Association will present a poetry slam entitled “The Beauty of Struggle” where students, faculty, and the public can listen as members of the law school community present their original compositions. It will be at Mo’ Joe’s, 222 W. Michigan St., Indianapolis. Those wanting to present a poem or make a donation to collect school supplies for Indy Schools on Wheels should contact the BLSA at blsaiuls@iupui.edu.

On Wednesday, students can attend one of two workshops presented by professionals in the Human Resources Department at IUPUI on “Diversity and Entering the Profession.” Interested students should contact Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Matt Banker’s office at mbanker@iupui.edu because space is limited.

Finally, the week ends with a keynote lecture by former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Myra Selby, the first African-American woman to serve on that court. She’ll speak about diversity in the legal profession at 4:30 p.m. in the Wynne Courtroom. It’s open to the public and one hour of CLE credit is offered. Contact Tamara McMillian at tmcmilli@iupui.edu for more information.

Diversity is important in every profession. By discussing it while in law school and raising concerns and offering possible solutions, it puts Indiana’s lawyers in the mindset that diversity is essential and valued at every step in one’s legal career. Events like this also help practicing attorneys be up-to-date about concerns future lawyers may have as well as meeting potential co-workers or members of Indiana’s legal community.

You can learn more about these events on the law school’s Web site.

As Anthony Pearson, president of the BLSA who is involved in the Diversity Committee, so aptly put it “Diversity is less about the color of a person’s color and more about their perspective. A diverse legal ecosystem adds unparalleled value in the way it allows the legal community to respond to the multifaceted issues encountered by a community or company.”
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