Columbus Bar Wins ABA Award for Diversity Program

A Columbus Bar Association program to increase the number of minority attorneys hired in local law firms has won a national award from the American Bar Association, and will be featured at the upcoming ABA annual meeting this August.

The American Bar Association selected three programs nationwide for Partnership Awards to recognize exemplary efforts to increase diversity in the legal profession, and to encourage other bar associations to do so. In addition to the Columbus Bar, the other recipients are New York's Albany County Bar Association and the National Bar Association.

The Columbus Bar's Managing Partner's Diversity Initiative, began two years ago as a unique community-wide collaboration to recruit, retain and promote more minority attorneys in local law firms. This historic public pledge was joined by twenty-two Columbus law firms, the John Mercer Langston Bar Association (comprised primarily of African American attorneys), the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and Capital University Law School, and coordinated by the Columbus Bar.

Last month, the Columbus Bar reported the annual survey of results from participating law firms, which showed that the number of minority attorneys has almost doubled, and 22 percent of the attorneys hired in 2002 were attorneys of color. Increases in minority lawyers were seen at every level, from the number of minority law partners to the incoming class of summer law interns - considered an important measure of the pipeline for future new hires.