Council on Access and Fairness mission, vision, goals and strategies

Introduction

The Council on Access and Fairness (COAF) advises the Board of Trustees on strategies to enhance diversity opportunities and advancement in the legal profession. “Opportunities” encompass leadership development and appointment to State Bar entities, as well as initiatives to educate students about the law and career opportunities in the law. “Advancement” encompasses recruitment, employment, retention and promotion in the legal profession.

The council is composed of 25 attorney and public members appointed by the Board of Trustees. The membership  represents a wide range of stakeholders engaged in programs and initiatives focusing on increasing diversity in the legal profession. Consistent with State Bar appointments policies and diversity criteria, council members are drawn from diverse constituencies, including but not limited to: race, ethnicity and national origin; gender; age; sexual orientation and transgender; disabilities; large, small and solo firms; government and public sector practice; domestic corporate and private firm practice; P-12, college and universities and law schools; and the judiciary. The mission, vision, goals, and strategies of the Council on Access and Fairness are detailed below.

Mission

The Council on Access and Fairness provides leadership and guidance for the State Bar of California to ensure the legal profession reflects the rich diversity of the people of California in a way that is equally accessible and free of bias.

Vision

The council’s vision is of a culture of inclusion within California legal and judicial communities that accommodates the needs of California’s diverse population and ensures that the justice system delivers procedural fairness and substantive justice to the people of California; of a legal profession comprised of a diverse population of attorneys (including minorities, women, LGBT, seniors, and persons with disabilities); of the elimination of  the educational achievement gap between diverse K through 12 students and other student populations; of equal access for diverse students to enhanced educational opportunities and information about the legal profession to cultivate and support their interest and involvement in the judicial system and of a student population that understand its role and responsibilities as active participants in our democracy.

Long-range goals and strategies

Goals

  • Barriers are eliminated and diversity is encouraged all along the California educational pipeline (from preschool through admission to the legal profession).
  • The California legal profession and judiciary will reflect the rich diversity of the California population and respect the cultural values of their constituents.

Strategies

  • Produce Institutional and Attitudinal Changes. Produce institutional and attitudinal changes to create a culture of inclusion within the legal profession and judiciary that fosters diversity.
  • Communicate to Inspire and Engage Diversity. Serve as a catalyst for change by framing and communicating ways to respond to diversity challenges to inspire and empower potential lawyers from diverse communities.
  • Partner, Collaborate and Coordinate to Achieve Diversity. Partner, collaborate and coordinate with existing entities and individuals already working toward the goal of diversity within the justice system to achieve that goal.
  • Measure Change. Create mechanisms to measure change in the diversity of the legal profession over time.