Diversity Conference

Chidi James, Chair

Officers for the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year:

  • Chidi James, Chair 
  • Sheila Costin, Chair-Elect 
  • Luis Perez, Immediate Past Chair 
  • Alicia Roberts, Treasurer 
  • David D. Masterman, Secretary

Number of members of the Diversity Conference: 849

Special Activities/Programs/Achievements during the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year:

  1. 2019-2020 Law School Mentor/Mentee Initiative – VSB Annual Meeting

Due to COVID-19 the Annual Meeting for the 2019-2020 fiscal year was cancelled.  The Diversity Conference typically invites law students from each Virginia law school to attend VSB Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach. Under this Initiative, Deans of each of the respective law schools in Virginia select two of their outstanding students whom they feel reflect their schools’ respective diversity goals and excellence in studies.  The Diversity Conference intends to invite these students to the 2020 Annual Forum on Diversity. 

  1. Diversity Conference Third Annual Forum on Diversity in the Legal Profession

The Diversity Conference Third Annual Forum on Diversity in the Legal Profession is being rescheduled due to COVID-19.  The rescheduled date and location are still TBD; however, the conference is considering moving it from Charlottesville to Richmond.

      3.  Showcase CLE –The Diversity Conference is working with the VWAA to present a showcase CLE titled 100 Years After Passage of the 19th Amendment Granting Women’s Suffrage: How Far Have We Come and How Far We Still Have to Go?”  This program will explore women’s voting and employment rights and issues perpetuating the gender pay gap.  We will also be discussing the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment by the Virginia General Assembly in January 2020This program, originally scheduled to take place during the 2020 VSBA annual meeting; however, due to the cancellation of the meeting the program will now be presented during the Annual Forum.  

  1. 2019-2020 Clarence M. Dunnaville, Jr. Achievement Award 

The Diversity Conference recipient for the Clarence M. Dunnaville, Jr. Award is Doris Causey.  The award would have been presented at the 2020 VSB Annual Meeting; however, due to COVID-19 it will be presented during the re-scheduled Annual Forum on Diversity.  

  1. 2019-2020 Oliver Hill/Samuel Tucker Pre-Law Institute

The Oliver Hill/Samuel Tucker Pre-Law Institute (HTI), was going to take place the week of on July 5 -10, 2020 at the University of Richmond but due to COVID-19 the event is being rescheduled, potentially to December 2020.  The Diversity Conference thanks and appreciate the tremendous efforts of HTI co-directors Wesley Allen and Courtney Frazier for their work on this program.

  1. Rule of Law Day/Students’ Day at the Capitol Programs

This year’s event was cancelled due to COVID-19. This program typically 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 and 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.

  1. Publicity 

The Diversity Conference wishes to express its appreciation to the VSB Communications Department and board member Chris Fortier who have been very diligent in their efforts to help us improve and update our current website consistent with other VSB Conferences/Sections.  We have now been able to transfer much of the rich content from the very excellent former website of the unfunded Conference and build a better user-friendly membership portal, all of which can better educate the public and the Bar about the work of the Diversity Conference.  We have also successfully revamped our social media presence on Twitter and Facebook.  Please follow and visit the Diversity Conference on Twitter and Facebook. With special thanks to member Gus Bequai and Chris Fortier, the Diversity Conference continues issuing the conference e-newsletter, Invictus.

  1. Disability Initiatives

Working with the disability law legal community, the Diversity Conference seeks to facilitate educational programs/sessions focused on disability law and the disability community at-large.  

Diversity Conference Board of Governors FY 2020-2021

The Diversity Conference Board of Governors voted unanimously to approve the following slate of nominated candidates to serve as officers for the 2020-2021 year. These candidates were approved by unanimous vote at the Diversity Conference’s Board of Governors Meeting held on April 21, 2020.

  • Chair, Sheila Costin 
  • ​Chair-Elect, David Masterman 
  • Treasurer, Alicia Roberts 
  • Secretary, Julie McClellan
  • Immediate Past Chair – Chidi James
Updated: Aug 06, 2020