2019 Summit Session Descriptions

Morning Plenary 

Creating an Inclusive Organizational Culture is Everyone’s Business with Adis María Vila

The session will examine organizations as open systems including what this means for the leadership of the organization and for stakeholders including employees.  The lecture will examine systems, processes, and talent development.  Emphasis on employee engagement as a means to develop an inclusive organizational culture and minimize turnover, especially turnover of diverse employees. 

Questions such as how to lead an organization to ensure that the organization does not stop with recruiting a diverse workforce, but rather that leaders and all person receive intercultural competency training since inclusion does not happen by accident.  It is no longer enough to treat others as you would like to be treated.  An inclusive organization treats others as THEY would like to be treated.  An inclusive organization is concerned that all of its members are engaged.  The lecture will review efforts by well-regarded inclusive organizations that have succeeded in creating an inclusive organizational culture. 

At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Understand open systems as it relates to inclusive organizational culture, talent development, employee engagement and retention.

·         Become aware of ways to create an inclusive organizational culture.

·         Learn how to develop leadership that develops and maintains an inclusive workplace.

Dr Adis María Vila, Next Steps for Building a Culture of Inclusion at the US Air Force Academy, 2013  Read more here

Afternoon Plenary

Bloom Where You’re Planted with Ronetta J Francis

“When facing challenges, whether unexpected or planned, whether in your professional or personal life, find comfort in those uncomfortable moments; those are the moments of growth that allow you to Bloom Where You Are Planted.”


You have sacrificed time away from your family and friends to further your education and to advance your professional career.  Now, you have landed your Dream Job – or the job that is one-to-two steps away from your Dream Job – and your experience is not at all what you had expected or hoped.  What now? The promotions have stopped coming or they never came; you feel “stuck.” How do you break through – push past “perfect,” put fear in its place and turn down the volume of your inner critic? How do you grow and flourish in an environment that is not supportive or conducive to that vision? 

Drawing from her experiences a wife, mother, mentor, federal litigator, in-house counsel and corporate executive, Francis will share the dynamic, engaging and actionable leadership principles she developed to empower the phrase, Bloom Where You Are Planted, to inspire and motivate the changes necessary to move from surviving to thriving. All registrants will receive a copy of “Bloom Where You are Planted,” Francis’s newly released book.

At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Identify barriers that affect their goals, including advancement of professional career.

·         Learn how to “bloom” in environments that are not conducive to their professional growth.

·         Become motivated to make those necessary changes to thrive, and not just survive, in challenging circumstances.

Concurrent Sessions

1.       Legal policy and ethics regarding the education of migrants and undocumented lawyers in the U.S. with María M Pabón 

This presentation will address the legal aspects of states educating undocumented students and the current trends in the admission to the practice law of undocumented attorneys in the U.S. The Supreme Court jurisprudence on these topics will also be identified and examined. In this presentation, we will also analyze the legal policies and ethics of immigration, employment, and other areas affecting undocumented lawyers. Finally, this presentation will explore how these topics fit into the field of diversity. These discussions will assist all in the legal profession as well as, elected officials, professional licensing authorities, and policy analysts in these fields.

At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Be more aware of the existence and importance of the ethical and legal issues inherent in the lives and education of undocumented students and their trajectory to the legal profession.

·         Be acquainted with traditional and emerging conceptions of immigration law and ethics in our culture, and with the principles and approaches for moral action to be derived from these conceptions.

·         Be able to understand and analyze the law pertaining to immigrants, their rights under U.S. law, especially as it relates to undocumented lawyers.

·         Understand more clearly their own ethical beliefs and predispositions regarding immigrants, and be able to relate them to the ethical systems of others and of the dominant culture.

·         Be better prepared to lead organizations in ways that employ ethical and legal means as they relate to undocumented lawyers and immigrants in general.



2.       Are There Winners and Losers in “Big Tent” Diversity? with Courtney Dredden Carter and Robert White

This informative and interactive session will explore the evolving and expanding definition of diversity and the implications for groups traditionally treated as diverse, diversity leaders and organizations. After sharing available data on outcomes of the expanded definition of diversity, the session will promote audience engagement through candid discussion about the complex and sensitive issues of defining (or redefining) who is “diverse.” Attendees will leave with practical advice on how to constructively manage challenges and increase effectiveness of their organizations and diversity initiatives.

At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Obtain research regarding the implications of “big-tent diversity”, i.e. broadening the definition of diversity to include populations outside the traditional markers of gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.

·         Gain insight on how individuals respond to different definitions of diversity.Explore how disparate groups within the traditional diversity may experience different outcomes from non-differentiated diversity efforts.

·         Participate in a frank conversation about how the definition of diversity can shape diversity initiatives within their organizations with practical advice on managing differing views on who should be considered diverse in different contexts.

 Big Tent Diversity PPT.pptx

3.       Diversity Fatigue Sucks - Best Practices for Sustaining Fresh & Relevant Inclusion Programs with Dionne M King 

Diversity fatigue comes at different stages in our careers and will continue to grow unless law firms and organizations take a more strategic approach. In this engaging session, Dionne King will share best practices gathered from her work with numerous industries. Participants will learn how to address diversity the way they address other business opportunities and challenges—create a strategy, form metrics for accountability, provide development and practice targeted mindfulness. Participants will also learn innovative ways to turn burnout into dynamic diversity and inclusion programs.

At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Gain best practices for sustaining and building a more effective diversity and inclusion program.

·         Learn how to cultivate a more inclusive environment.

·         Find rejuvenation for continuing in their practices and respective diversity fields.

 Diversity Fatigue.pdf

4.       CLI-YLD Presents: Coaching the Diverse New Attorney: How to Succeed and Advance in Your Law Office with Eli Wald 

Legal employers are hiring new attorneys who may have priorities and needs that may differ from hires in the past.  Understanding and addressing those needs and priorities are critical in the recruitment and retention of that talent. 

At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Determine how to get honest and helpful feedback and assessment of their work.

·         Understand how to find and cultivate advocate mentors in their office.

·         Identify ways to make themselves invaluable.

·         Learn how to ask their supervisors for top assignments.

·         Understand implicit biases, its impact on their professional development and how to navigate it.

·         Determine how to accurately assess their standing in their office.

·         Allies will learn tips on coaching new diverse attorneys in private firms, public law offices, corporate legal departments, and other law related work situations.



5.       All About Inclusion: A Conversation With Hiring Managers in Private Practice and Corporate In-House Departments with Anne Lee Benedict, Britton Nohe-Braun, Andrew Unthank and Ryan B. Whitacre 

As others have pointed out, the legal profession is diverse. (2018 ABA stats show 30'% minority enrollment in  laws schools, for example.) What still lags, however, is diversity at the highest ranks -- managing or equity partner, chief legal or compliance officer, judge or justice. Led by a seasoned executive recruiter, this panel will discuss the challenges and offer practical solutions to what is increasingly becoming an *inclusion* issue: How to get a diverse entry-level to stick around and climb to the highest levels of the profession.

At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Understand that while diversity gets the attention, inclusion is the heart of the matter. Employers cannot simply hire and call it "job done."

·         Obtain practical tools for managers so they can diversify their leadership ranks.

·         Receive insight from the audience and panel about their personal experience, including how the panelists got to their leadership posts.

CLI - WTO slides draft (7-26-19).pptx

6.       Transgender at Work with Ryann Peyton 

This training includes important information on the responsibilities of management as they relate to their LGBT and other employees. Also included is education on the transgender community, the federal, state and municipal laws and ordinance that translate to legal protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and conversation surrounding restrooms and locker rooms, dress codes, company policy, concerned coworkers, hiring and interviewing, micro-aggressions, and how to be inclusive of the community.


At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Have a better understanding of the legal requirements within the state of Colorado for supporting transgender and gender diverse employees in the workplace.

·         Recognizes the challenges transgender and gender diverse employees face at the federal courts level.

·         Learn how to effectively address conflict resolution through bystander intervention training.

CLI Summit Trans at Work.pptx

 Trans Affirming Handout.pdf

7.       Mastering the Art of Self-Promotion: Effective (but Tactful) Ways to Toot Your Own Horn and Accelerate Career Progress with Tiffani Lee 

Women attorneys and attorneys of color often express feeling uncomfortable touting their achievements and advocating for themselves. Experts and law firm leaders know, however, that self-advocacy is an important tool for career advancement, including accessing networks, getting stretch opportunities, and making an attorney's accomplishments (or potential) visible. Tiffani Lee, Holland & Knight’s Diversity Partner and a member of its firmwide Partner Compensation Committee, will share the research, her observations, and practical tips for how women attorneys and attorneys of color can strategically (but tactfully) promote themselves in the workplace to accelerate their career progress.


At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Understand the importance of self-advocacy to career development.

·         Become aware of some of the barriers to self-advocacy and special challenges faced by women attorneys and attorneys of color.

·         Develop practical and tactful strategies for self-advocacy that can be used individually or shared with others (ex. in associate mentoring and coaching roles).

Final PowerPoint Presentation for Center for Legal Inclusiveness - July 29, 2019.pptx


8.       Proactive Lawyer Self-Assessments: Promoting Professionalism, Inclusivity, and Access to Justice with Jonathan White 

This presentation will review the concept of proactive practice management programs. Colorado operates such a program for its lawyers known as the Colorado Lawyer Self-Assessment Program. It helps lawyers meet ethical obligations, better serve clients, and run efficient practices. An important aspect of these programs is content that goes beyond basic requirements of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Colorado Lawyer Self-Assessment Program includes content related to access to justice and inclusivity. Accordingly, the programs benefit consumers of legal services by giving lawyers who participate in such programs resources to expand their services to a more diverse pool of clients.

At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Gain an increased understanding of voluntary, confidential proactive practice review programs and their benefit to lawyers and their clients.

·         Become more familiar with the publicly-available resources that discuss lawyer ethics as well as concepts ranging from lawyer well-being to inclusivity.

·         Learn how to create such programs and, in tandem, market them to lawyers.

Access to Justice and Inclusivity 7-29-19 Final.pptx

Materials for 7-29-19 Presentation.pdf

9.       Avoiding Tokenization: Lessons from Diverse Law Students in Ensuring an Inclusive, Equitable, and Supportive Legal Experience in the Field with Alexi Freeman, Rebekah Gordan and Desiree Palomares  

There are increased efforts to open up legal work experiences and programs to law students from historically oppressed groups, whether for summer jobs, semester externships, or formal mentoring programs. While representation matters, how can we ensure, that our marginalized students don’t experience increased marginalization with such efforts? How can we ensure that we don’t tokenize these students? How can we ensure that once in these spaces, students are met with appropriate support and engagement? Amplified by the voices and experiences of students, this session aims to provide strategies to answer these questions and more.

At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Better understand the unique status of a law student and how such status, layered with an identity as someone from a diverse group and/or historically marginalized group, warrants different engagement than even that of a junior lawyer/associate/fellow etc.

·         Obtain an increased set of tools, strategies, and ideas that aim to help with recruiting diverse law students for externships and positions and ensuring a mutually beneficial, enjoyable, and inclusive relationship and experience.

·         Be more informed about the experiences of diverse law students.

cli 2019 powerpoint FINAL FREEMAN AVOIDING TOKENZATION july 24.pptx

bias scenarios for CLI.docx


10.   Integrating Diversity & Inclusion into the Business with Christina Herrmann, Chandra Kilgriff and Kristine McKinney 

In the late 1990s, a rise in discrimination lawsuits resulted in organizations forming committees to implement Diversity & Inclusion programs. These measures resulted in gains by helping to illuminate disparities, provide forums for difficult discussions, and create leadership opportunities. However, organizations still struggle to make substantial gains in the recruitment, retention and promotion of diverse talent. One problem is that carve out programs relegate D&I responsibility to a few individuals, which can minimize the issues, trivialize efforts, result in diversity fatigue, and put people on the defensive. We will discuss evolving D&I beyond committees, to full integration in the workplace.


At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Learn change management tools that can be utilized for advancing diversity and inclusiveness into organizations.

·         Leave with specific examples of how legal employers can embed diversity and inclusiveness into recruiting and professional development programs and policies, which they can adapt to their particular organization.

·         Learn best some law firm practices for integrating D&I into the business.

 D and I Case Study.pdf

11.   Pride and the Prejudice of Names with Roberto Montoya and Monica Williams 

Names can be complicated, especially when they are layered with identity, meaning, culture, heritage and tradition. For many, there is a great deal of pride associated with names. Simultaneously, certain types of names are met with unconscious bias and prejudice. This session, through the introduction of name narratives, will equip participants with tools to understand the importance of honoring name heritage and to begin deconstructing biases often held within the workplace and society. We’ll explore the implications of naming during the recruiting process, onboarding and when engaging employees to bring their whole and authentic selves to work every day.


At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Conduct their own name narrative.

·         Identify biases associated with names.

·         Expand their knowledge and understanding of the importance and value of names.

·         Learn research-based best practices for recruiting, onboarding and engaging employees with diverse backgrounds.

Name Narrative_CLI.pptx


12.   How to Manage and Develop A Generational Inclusive Workforce with Tonia Morris 

For the first time in history, we have five generations in the workforce. This has been a challenge for many organizations. Many organizations face challenges with recruiting, retaining, developing and managing generation expectations. As the workforce evolves with  multiple generations, a major factor affects the workforce - Leadership! Leadership looks different. In the past, leadership development was basically having employees put in their time and haphazardly develop these skills on their own. But now, many organizations are developing leaders at every level, consciously, deliberately. How we lead and manage will also be different.  Many organizations are going to lead via technology instead of in person. We are more global now than ever before. According to SHRM, by 2020, the workforce will look totally different, meaning the employee/employer relationship will be different. We will have more contractors working into the workplace who also contribute to the GIG economy. The question is, are you READY for the new workforce?

At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Understand the impact of a multi generation workforce.

·         Learn the importance of understanding a multi generation workforce.

·         Become aware of the work expectations of a multi generations.

·         Be able to lead a multi generation workforce.

·         Obtain leadership skills needed to attract, retain, develop and manage a multi generation.

·         Gain a different perspective and understanding of each generation, the commonality of each generation.

·         Appreciate how everyone has a responsibility to create a workplace that is generationally inclusive.

How to Develop a Generational Inclusive Culture -CLI.pdf


13.   Baked In Inclusion with Erica Edwards-O'Neal 

Often well-intentioned organizations bring in efforts of diversity, inclusion & equity as an afterthought, a topping of sorts, not a truly baked-in ingredient of the company culture and policies. We will discuss ways to rethink & embed a variety of recruiting, management & leadership development procedures to move the needle.

At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Discuss DEI efforts that organizations create and implement but not necessarily embed and the effect this has on their goals/outcomes.

·         Learn how to identify seemingly neutral policies and decisions that may impact equitable outcomes and/or unintentionally reinforce implicit bias.

·         Leave with concrete examples of policy or practice revisions that counter bias.


14.  Foundations for Practice Project with Zack DeMeola

In 2015, IAALS began its Foundations for Practice project by conducting a survey of more than 24,000 lawyers across the country to identify the characteristics, competencies, and skills that new lawyers need right out of law school. Since publishing the results of the survey, IAALS has been using those results this past year to work with Columbia University Law School, Seattle University School of Law, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and 36 different employers selected by these schools to develop a set of learning outcomes, assessments, instructional designs, and hiring tools to instill and identify desired characteristics, competencies, and skills in future lawyers. The culmination of all this work is a Foundations-based Learning Outcomes Model, a set of Foundations-based hiring tools, and recommendations for how educators and employers can effectively use them for more objective and reliable assessment of student performance and hiring criteria. A Foundations-based hiring process that is intentional, explicit, and consistent more aptly aligns the needs of the employer with the abilities of a candidate by requiring employers to clearly define the abilities they seek in new hires and tie those abilities to their hiring criteria. This results in more compatible matches between new hires and employers and has more potential to reduce the influence of bias in hiring than relying on traditional criteria alone.

At the end of this programs, participants will:

1. Be familiar with Foundations for Practice research on what new lawyers need for success;

2. Understand how Foundations for Practice research can be used as the basis for designing learning outcomes and hiring tools;

3. Understand how to take advantage of and apply the results from the Foundations for Practice study as another tool to improve or supplement legal education and career development, including the use of objective criteria to reduce the influence of bias in hiring.

BE-870218-Gerkman-DeMeola (1).pdf


15.    Judicial Panel: Judicial Clerkships and Diversity  

  • Christine Arguello - judge for USDC-CO, founder of Law School Yes We Can
  • Gail Howard - Program Director of the ABA's Judicial Intern Opportunity Program
  • Gary Jackson (moderator) - Denver County Court judge and strong advocate for increasing diversity on the bench
  • Arash Jahanian - staff attorney for ACLU-CO and former law clerk of Judge Wiley Daniel.
  • Tony Mauro - journalist who covers the US Supreme Court,.

In 1998, USA Today wrote an article discussing the lack of diverse law clerks in the Supreme Court and the impact this has on both the perception of justice and on the future these clerks, professionally.  This article, and the follow-up 20 years later (which did not show much change in the racial makeup) continue to make the public aware of this problem, not just in the Supreme Court but other courts, and why this issue affects all of us.  Join this distinguished panel as they discuss issues related to the lack of diverse law clerks, how it affects the public's perception of justice, and potential solutions to this issue, including the Mansfield Rule.  

At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Understand how a lack of diverse judicial law clerks impacts the legal profession and the public’s confidence in the law.

·         Understand the barriers, including implicit bias, diverse candidates face when applying for judicial clerkships.

·         Become aware of programs and potential solutions that will address this scarcity of talent.

David Lat, A Concrete Proposal For Improving Diversity In Law Clerk Hiring: Here's an excellent idea, from Judge Vince Chhabria (N.D. Cal.)., Above the Law, 2019, https://abovethelaw.com/2019/01/a-concrete-proposal-for-improving-diversity-in-law-clerk-hiring/ (last visited Jul 24, 2019)

Anthony Mauro, Supreme Court clerks are overwhelmingly white and male. Just like 20 years ago., USAToday, 2018, https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/01/08/supreme-court-clerks-overwhelmingly-white-male-just-like-20-years-ago-tony-mauro-column/965945001/ (last visited Jul 24, 2019)

16.   General Counsel Panel with Thomas Chow, Cynthia Folse Pechon,  Ronetta Francis (moderator) and Patrick O’Rourke 

Legal departments have worked to help improve diversity in the legal profession by leveraging their work with their outside counsel for twenty years. In 1999, chief legal officers signed “Diversity In The Workplace – A Statement of Principle” whereby the signatories promised to consider law firm diversity when hiring their outside counsel.  That was followed up with the “Call to Action” in 2004 where legal departments pledged to make decisions regarding law firms representation based, partly, on the firms’ diversity performance. ABA Resolution 113 passed in 2016, to encourage clients to facilitate more “opportunities for diverse attorneys, and to direct a greater percentage of the legal services they purchase *** to diverse attorneys,” and that both law firms and legal departments “expand and create opportunities *** for diverse attorneys”.  Are these initiatives making a difference?  These panelists will discuss this and other related issues.

At the end of this session, participants will:

·         Explore the challenges, opportunities and impact these and other efforts have had on diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

·         Learn how implicit bias affects opportunities for diverse attorneys.

·         Understand the impact these initiatives have on outside counsel they hire (including representation on their matters), and professional development.

Article Links:

A Concrete Proposal For Improving Diversity In Law Clerk Hiring: Here's an excellent idea, from Judge Vince Chhabria 

Anthony Mauro, Supreme Court clerks are overwhelmingly white and male. Just like 20 years ago., USAToday, 2018, 

Dahlia Lithwick, Who Feeds the Supreme Court?, Slate, 2015,

Laurium Evaluation Group for the ABA, Evaluation of ABA Key Diversity Pipeline Programs, Retrieved July 25, 2019


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Denver, CO 80203-1028

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