The State Bar advances diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the legal profession by focusing on key areas of influence, specifically the pipeline into the legal profession, retention and career advancement, and judicial diversity. The State Bar adopted as its diversity definition the reporting categories in Government Code section 12011.5(n): race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, and veteran status.
The State Bar’s DEI work seeks to achieve a statewide attorney population that reflects the rich demographics of the state's population. Goal two of the State Bar’s new Five-Year Strategic Plan for 2022-2027 includes several implementation steps for diversifying the legal profession. In addition, the State Bar's biennial report to the Legislature highlights progress and plans in this area.
Here are examples of current efforts:
The State Bar conducts an annual Attorney Census to gather demographic and employment data from the state’s licensees. The census contains questions on demographic characteristics, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and veteran’s status. The census also asks questions about employment, workplace environment, and issues related to recruitment, advancement, and retention.
The census enables the State Bar to conduct analyses to document changes in the attorney population, career trajectories, and experiences in the legal profession in a variety of fields. These analyses highlight benchmarks for progress and inform potential areas of opportunity for the State Bar’s inclusion and diversity priorities. Here are Frequently Asked Questions about the Attorney Census; for any other questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Based on survey responses from a majority of active California attorneys, the 2022 Report Card on the Diversity of California's Legal Profession highlights diversity trends in California’s attorney population across multiple demographic groups and employment sectors, touching on the following areas: workplace settings, leadership roles, and workplace satisfaction. For the first time, the report is available to the public digitally, complete with key findings highlighted with interactive data visualizations. The State Bar is producing additional analyses that will drill down into specific demographic groups and sectors and plans to make the data widely available for analysis by others.
The State Bar has published sector-specific and general DEI calls to action as a companion to the Diversity Report Card.
The State Bar’s ' Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Leadership Seal Program recognizes California legal employers that commit to implementing or are already implementing actions that further DEI in the workplace. The program is available to all legal employers that employ California attorneys, including law firms, in-house legal departments, legal academia, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies with attorney staff. For questions about this program, please contact DEILeadershipSeal@calbar.ca.gov.
The State Bar's Council on Access and Fairness (COAF) is comprised of lawyers, judges, and members of the public who advise the Board of Trustees and others on ways to advance strategies and goals for diversity. The COAF annual work plan outlines the ways in which the council's work supports the State Bar's strategic DEI goals.
Recent COAF-developed outreach materials include: