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The Florida Bar
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Jacksonville Bar Association Diversity Symposium

February 20, 2009, 12:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Contact: Susan Sowards, Jacksonville Bar Association, (904) 399-4486, SSowards@jaxbar.org

Attendance:
130 reservations
100 attendees
Law Students Free Admission
3.5 CLER and 3.5 Ethics credits per attendee

Budget figures:
Income $ 3,400
Expense (3.5 CLER; 3.5 Ethics) $ 3,015
Net Profit $ 385

High-profile participants:

Justice Barbara Pariente – keynote speaker
Howard C. Coker–former president of the Florida Bar & The Florida Justice Association
Frank Angones – former president of the Florida Bar
Casey Black – WJXT News Anchor, Jacksonville
Judge Fred Hazouri – Fourth District Court of Appeals & Jacksonville native
And a host of other respected Jacksonville area legal leaders

Host Organizations:

Hosts included: The Jacksonville Bar Association, Asian-American Bar Association, Christian Legal Society, D.W. Perkins Bar Association, Florida Coastal School of Law, Hispanic Bar Association, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, and Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association

Endorsement from the Mayor – “I believe that the Jacksonville Bar Diversity Symposium is a fine example of our legal community taking a progressive approach by looking at the challenges and opportunities an evermore diverse city brings to it.” John Peyton, Mayor of Jacksonville

Focus:

-Equality in the legal profession
-Open and frank dialogue about diversity in the profession
-Minority and female application will be encouraged by law practitioners
-Establishing diversity is a multi-pronged effort. Middle and high school students with law aspirations should be mentored early and taught be inclusiveness at the higher legal levels
-Keynote speech covered diversity based on gender, race, sexual orientation, and disability. Bias was also discussed, including stereotyping and prejudice, and how they affect legal behavior.
-The Jacksonville Bar Association President Joseph Camerlengo organized the symposium because he believed Jacksonville needed more diversity initiatives, and his association was lacking a diversity committee. “One of my goals was to bring most of the volunteer bars in Jacksonville together and get the rest next year. This is going to be a continued effort.” – Joseph Camerlengo, President of the Jacksonville Bar Association

Format:

The symposium was conducted in a panel format patterned after The Florida Bar’s Diversity DVD called “Changing Faces of Justice.”

Panels consisted of seven panelists each. A moderator directed one question to each panelist to start a new discussion.

Discourse topics:

a.) Do you support quotas for judicial positions?

b.) Reflecting on Gov. Crist’s issue with lack of judicial diversity options, is this an important focus for Judge Arias in the Jacksonville area?

c.) How can members of the Bar and bench work together to prepare and encourage qualified diverse candidates to apply to the bench and seek leadership positions in local voluntary bars?

d.) To Justice Pariente, should the JNC be required to present to the Governor at least one qualified diverse candidate for all judicial nominations?

e.) Judge Flower was asked about the number of diverse/multi-cultural judges in the circuit’s 55 judicial positions. There were 11 females, 4 African-Americans, and 1 Hispanic-American

f.) Judge Drake was presented a stat from The Jacksonville Community Council. Inc. It stated that the vast majority of Jacksonville citizens detect unfair treatment towards black and Hispanic people as compared to whites in the courts? Does Judge Drake think improving diversity on the bench would help change this perception?

g.) To Judge Hazouri, has Jacksonville made improvements in race relations and diversity? How does South Florida view diversity in the Fourth Judicial Circuit?

h.) To Judge Cooper, are diversity programs, recruitment plans and minority quotas inherently unfair or a must in our society today?

i.) A video was shown inviting lawyers and law schools to encourage and mentor children to complete high school, graduate college & law school, and then return to practice in their communities. What are FCSL and other law schools doing in regards to this?

j.) To Frank Angones, are more and more clients demanding diversity in the legal workplace? Are lawyers targeting to reach clients of a particular ethnicity, race, gender, etc.? What can Jacksonville do to improve its reputation for diversity and attract more diverse attorneys?

k.) What diversity measures and/or programs are lacking in our community? What, if any, groups are still disenfranchised? A roster from nonprofit, corporate, educational, and religious organizations were suggested to gather the data.

l.) How do you find good minority or diverse job applicants; and what diversity measures are effective in embracing and retaining diverse employees that are hired?

m.) With more Asian-Americans and other races & ethnic groups increasing, should they be tailored to individually or as an overall diverse community, as far as reaching out?

n.) A prosperous firm that has embraced diversity in its hiring practices and charitable endeavors, was asked to give some real examples of how doing the right thing for the right reason can lead to great financial and personal success?

[Revised: 01-04-2013]