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March 15, 2014
YLD sets three diversity symposiums for May 9

By Megan E. Davis
Associate Editor

The Young Lawyers Division is expanding its efforts to promote diversity by hosting diversity symposiums in three parts of the state simultaneously.

Sorraya Solages Events are set for May 9 at Florida State University College of Law in Tallahassee, Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando, and Florida International University College of Law in Miami.

“Diversity is a topic that is often overlooked, as it does not affect all people all of the time. And it is not just race, ethnicity, or gender — it is LGBT, it is physical disabilities, it is even simply being a younger lawyer,” said Sorraya Solages, chair of the YLD diversity committee.

“In the past, the YLD diversity committee has sponsored various diversity-related events throughout the state. This year, we wanted to up the ante and challenge ourselves to make a bigger splash in the diversity and inclusion pool. The committee’s hope is that the ripple effect will propel diversity conversations and programming to the forefront.”

The symposiums are open to all lawyers and law students in Florida, and Solages said she expects about 50 to 100 people to attend each event. Attendees will be encouraged to discuss diversity-related issues affecting their specific
region.

“Although general diversity and inclusion concerns are broad and permeate the entire state, what may affect lawyers in Miami can be very different from what affects lawyers in Orlando or Tallahassee,” she said.

While planning for the symposiums is still underway, the committee hopes the events will jumpstart work toward obtainable solutions in addition to sparking discussion about diversity.

“My experience with attending a number of diversity-related CLEs and events has been that there are always meaningful discussions and stories shared, but no real lasting momentum to overcome present-day obstacles,” Solages said. “As we gear up for May 9, the committee will strategize on how best to, not only have a meaningful exchange of experiences and ideas, but also to formulate a workable action plan for attendees to further explore with their employers, colleagues, and in their communities.”

At press time, Solages said additional information about the events will be posted to the YLD website, www.flayld.org, soon. Additionally, the committee plans this year to award diversity grants to local YLD affiliates that implement a diversity program or event in their area. The grants are designed to encourage programming throughout the state related to diversity initiatives. Applications will be made available on the YLD website this month.

[Revised: 12-08-2014]