Diversity Conference

Eva N. Juncker, Chair 

Officers for the 2014-2015 Fiscal Year:

  • Eva N. Juncker, Chair
  • Rupen Shah, Immediate Past Chair
  • Providence Napoleon, Chair-Elect
  • Latoya Asia, Treasurer
  • Carole Capsalis, Secretary

Number of members of the Diversity Conference:  672.

CLEs Sponsored by the Diversity Conference:

-“Forging in the Foundry of Justice, the Rule of Law for We the People.”  The program was designed to be interactive with the audience and discuss the foundational structure of our system of jurisprudence, while at the same time encouraging participants to partner with the Center for Teaching the Rule of Law in providing pro bono services to public schools by teaching students about the rule of law.  Because of the efforts of the Diversity Conference and the VWAA, the Center for Teaching the Rule of Law now has CLE approval for their two hour presentation and can present their program across the Commonwealth for CLE credit.  Participants can now attend a Rule of Law program, get 2 hours of CLE credit, and sign up to provide pro bono services in their local schools, teaching Virginia’s students about the Rule of Law.

-The Diversity Conference worked all year to bring the internationally recognized Harvard Professor, Dr. Mahzarin Banaji, to the annual meeting to present together with Washington and Lee University School of Law Professor James Moliterno, and Virginia Supreme Court Justice Cleo Powell, on the issues of implicit bias in the legal system.  This program was pre-approved for 3.0 hours of CLE credit.  The Diversity Conference collaborated with the following entities on this presentation:  Senior Lawyer’s Conference, Corporate Counsel Section, and the Access Committee of the Virginia State Bar, together with the Virginia Women Attorney’s Association, Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Virginia, ACC National Capital Region, McGuire Woods, Venable, The McCammon Group, Millennium Diversity Initiative, and the Virginia Diversity Foundation.

Special Activities During the 2014-2015 Fiscal Year:

Oliver Hill/Samuel Tucker Institute 2014:

Forty-nine high school students from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds participated in this year’s Oliver Hill/Samuel Tucker Pre-Law Institute, an annual summer program that introduces future lawyers to the legal profession and gives them the opportunity to meet distinguished members of the bench and bar.

McGuireWoods was the most generous sponsor for this year’s program.   During the week (July 13-18), the participants lived on University of Richmond’s campus, attended mock trial sessions and seminars, and participated in programs geared towards their development as law professionals, including an etiquette dinner and a networking reception, all at no cost.

The participants visited U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer and U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Roger L. Gregory. They toured the Richmond City Jail’s old and new facilities and met with Sheriff C.T. Woody and General Counsel Tony Pham. They visited the McGuireWoods Richmond office and met with several attorneys at McGuireWoods, including managing partner George Martin.

Justice Cleo Powell, the first African-American woman to serve on the Supreme Court of Virginia, was the graduation banquet’s keynote speaker. She recalled that Samuel Tucker was the first lawyer Justice Powell met and he inspired her to pursue a career in law. She encouraged the students to remain steadfast in their pursuits and they would attain greater heights than she achieved.

The Diversity Conference Pipeline/Ladder Projects Committee hopes to work with the Hill/Tucker Institute and their new leadership (Tamara Jones and Alicia Roberts) for a fifth year this summer.  

E-Newsletter:

The Diversity Conference recently published and distributed electronically its inaugural newsletter to its membership, along with a questionnaire to determine how the conference could better serve its members.  

Virginia Lawyer:

The Diversity Conference took advantage of the invitation to present Conference Chair updates and published articles in the Virginia Lawyer regarding the activities of the conference

Student Law Day at the Capitol 2015:

The Diversity Conference participated in Student Law Day at the Capital in 2015.

Collaboration with the Center for Teaching the Rule of Law 2014:

The Diversity Conference was delighted to accept an invitation from the Virginia Women Attorneys Association (VWAA) to present at their conference this October 17-19, 2014.  The conference partnered with The Center for Teaching the Rule of Law in delivering the conference showcase presentation on Saturday, October 18, 2014.  The title of the presentation was:  “Forging in the Foundry of Justice, the Rule of Law for We the People.”  The entire conference was approved for 6 hours of CLE credit, including 2 hours of approved ethics credit.  The conference focused, among other things, on how employment discrimination issues impact diversity in the workplace, on how education enhances everyone's access to justice under our Rule of Law, on how women and other minorities can pursue judicial appointments, and on how attorneys can help one another with closing down or transitioning a law practice.  To quote Justice Thurgood Marshall, "[m]ere access to the courthouse doors does not by itself assure a proper functioning of the adversary process."  

Admission & Orientation Ceremony December 2, 2014:

The Diversity Conference was present at the new attorney admission and orientation ceremony at the Virginia Supreme Court on December 2, 2014, welcoming new members to the bar and encouraging their participation and membership in the Diversity Conference.

Awards:

We were delighted to receive an award from the Conference of Local Bar Associations at the annual meeting this past June, in recognition of our June 2013 joint presentation with the Virginia Women Attorneys Association, titled “Diversity and the Rule of Law:  Complementary or Contradictory.”  Videos of that program are available on our website.

Clarence Dunnaville Lifetime Achievement Award 2015:

The recipient of the 2015 Clarence M. Dunnaville, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award was Manuel A. Capsalis.  This award is given to a member of the Virginia State Bar who has set an example of excellence in fostering, encouraging, and facilitating diversity and inclusion in the bar, the judiciary, and the legal profession.  A copy of his award article is attached.

Fore Diversity Golf Tournament 2015:

The Fifth Annual Fore Diversity Golf Tournament was held on Thursday, June 18, 2015.  We had a record number of participants at the event.

Student Law Day at the Capitol 2015:

The Diversity Conference once again participated in Student Law Day at the Capital in 2015 on Monday, April 27, 2015.  This program includes collaboration with the Virginia Law Foundation, Virginia Bar Association, VSB YLC, Rule of Law Project, and the academic community in the Richmond Public School area.  Using a partnership with teachers, lawyers, judges, and students, the program seeks to provide students with an enriching and interactive experience about the importance of the rule of law in their daily lives.  This program helps students better understand the need to preserve and protect the rule of law as the foundation for the rights and freedoms we enjoy in the United States.

Old Dominion Bar Association 75th Anniversary Conference:

Members of the Board of Governors of the Diversity Conference contributed their time and talents to the ODBA 75th Anniversary Conference which was held on May 28-31, 2015, in Richmond, Virginia.  We assisted with running the Charity Golf Tournament and also participated in many events over the weekend and were humbled to have been permitted to assist with the conference.

Annual Meeting Mentor/Mentee Initiative:

The Diversity Conference, in collaboration with BAM, YLC, NVWAA, and a host of individual firms and attorneys instituted a law student mentor/mentee program for the annual meeting this year.  We are thrilled to report that we had 100% participation from every single Virginia law school, to-wit:  Appalachian law school, George Mason University School of Law, Liberty University Law School, Regent Law School, T. C. Williams School of Law at Richmond, University of Virginia Law School, Washington & Lee Law School, and William & Mary Marshall Wyeth School of Law.  Each of those schools has nominated 1 or 2 students to attend the annual meeting and be mentored.  The law students had special stickers on their badges to identify them to attendees.  This inaugural program included a gathering at the President’s reception, a dinner function at Murphy’s Pub, attendance at the Diversity Conference’s Blindspot Showcase CLE, and attendance at the alumni breakfast.  We are hopeful that this initiative will continue in the future, that both mentors and mentees will find it richly rewarding, and that it will be an excellent bridge between law students and the Virginia State Bar.

Updated: Jul 27, 2015