Diversity Conference

Latoya Asia, Chair

Officers for the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year:

  • Latoya Asia, Chair
  • Carole Capsalis, Chair-Elect
  • Providence Napoleon, Immediate Past Chair
  • Luis Perez, Treasurer
  • Dave Masterman, Secretary

Number of members of the Diversity Conference:  755


Special Activities/Programs/Achievements during the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year:

  1. Third Annual Law School Mentor/Mentee Initiative – VSB Annual Meeting

The Diversity Conference invited and sponsored law students from each Virginia law school to attend the 2017 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. Each law student was paired with at least one practicing attorney from the Diversity Conference who served as mentor to the student. The students attended many of the showcase CLE sessions, the attorney general debate, the presentation of the Dunnaville Diversity Achievement Award, and participated in various networking opportunities with their mentors.  The students also attended the President’s Banquet and had the opportunity to meet with many members of the Bench and Bar. Fifteen dynamic law students attended the Annual Meeting under this initiative this year and they were enthusiastically welcomed by members of the Bench and Bar in attendance at each of events in which they participated.   

  1. Seventh Annual Fore Diversity Golf Tournament – 2017 VSB Annual Meeting

On Thursday, June 15, 2017, the 7th Annual Fore Diversity Tournament was held during the VSB Annual Meeting.  The Tournament saw yet another successful and rewarding year. 

  1. 2017 Clarence M. Dunnaville, Jr. Achievement Award – presented at the VSB Annual Meeting

Joseph A. Condo, distinguished family law attorney and past President of the VSB, received the Diversity Conference’s 2017 Clarence M. Dunnaville, Jr. Achievement Award, which honors an individual who exemplifies excellence that members can emulate to meet its mission and goal of fostering, encouraging and facilitating diversity and inclusion in the Bar, the Judiciary and the legal profession.  

As so eloquently stated by his nominator, “[a]s president of the Virginia State Bar in 2000-01, Joe prioritized diversity and created the Millennium Diversity Initiative (MDI), which in turn created an impetus and funding for the Oliver Hill/Samuel Tucker Summer Law Institute and other diversity-focused projects, including the Diversity Conference itself before it finally gained bar funding in 2016.  For over 20 years, he has been at the forefront of promoting diversity and inclusion on both the state and local level, paving the way for so many to carry on that noble goal.  He continues to be a vibrant force for inclusion and is a leader and mentor for an entire generation within Virginia’s legal profession.”

Mr. Condo’s moving remarks in his acceptance of this award at the Annual Meeting can be found here.

  1. 2017 Oliver Hill/Samuel Tucker Pre-Law Institute


The Oliver Hill/Samuel Tucker Pre-Law Institute (HTI) was held on June 26-30, 2017 at the University of Richmond. Named for legendary civil rights attorneys Oliver Hill and Samuel

Tucker, HTI reaches future lawyers at an early age (high school) to provide them with exposure and opportunity to explore the legal profession, at no cost to the participants.  Students in this year’s HTI participated in various activities to include, among other things, a networking reception, sessions on closing and opening statements, and evidence, a mock trial, and an etiquette dinner. As in past years, the continued success of HTI was made possible with a grant from the Virginia Law Foundation and, for the first time as a funded Conference this year, from the budget of the Diversity Conference.

  1. 2017 Students’ Day at the Capitol/Rule of Law Program

The Diversity Conference co-sponsored and provided volunteers for the 2017 Students’ Day at the Capitol/Rule of Law Program held on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.  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 and Henrico Public School areas.  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.

  1. YLC Bench-Bar Dinner

The Diversity Conference hosted 2.5 tables at the 2017 YLC Bench-Bar Dinner.  Among other individuals, former Diversity Conference Board of Governors Chair and champion, the Honorable Rupen Shah, was recognized for his elevation to judge of the 25th Judicial District.

  1. Black Land Trust

The Diversity Conference participated in a meeting with representatives of the Black Family Land Trust, Inc. on May 30, 2017, at the VSB offices.  The Black Family Land Trust (BFLT) is one of the nation’s only conservation land trusts dedicated to the preservation and protection of African American and other historically underserved landowners’ assets.  The meeting was called by Karl Doss, VSB Access to Legal Services Committee, and the Chairs of the Diversity Conference and the Senior Lawyer Conference were invited to participate.  The Old Dominion Bar Association, the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and Professor Comer, College of Agriculture, Virginia State University, were also represented at the meeting.    

The BFLT is seeking pro bono or reduced fee legal assistance and monetary support to support its mission in Southside Virginia.  Discussion will be ongoing at the direction of the Access to Legal Services Committee.  Chair-Elect Carole Capsalis and SLC Chair Bruce Robinson pledged to seek the support and participation of its Conference memberships to the extent possible.

  1. Publicity

The Diversity Conference revamped its social media presence on Twitter and Facebook: http://twitter.com/vsbdc and https://www.facebook.com/dcvsb/.  Additionally, our first newsletter, Invictus, was published in June 2017, and can be found here.

Continuing Legal Education Programs Sponsored during the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year:

  1. CLE at the CLBA’s Solo and Small Firm Practitioner Forum

The Diversity Conference facilitated a 1-hour CLE at the Conference of Local Bar Association’s Solo and Small Firm Practitioner Forum on April 7, 2017 in Lynchburg, Virginia.  The CLE was entitled “Understanding Diversity:  The Changing Realities and Considerations in the Practice of Law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”  Lynchburg lawyers Leigh Drewry, Kristine Smith, and John Alford and Jonathan Zur, CEO of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities graciously served as panelists for this CLE, and the Honorable Manuel Capsalis served as moderator.

  1. CLE’s at the 2017 VSB Annual Meeting

The Diversity Conference co-sponsored the following CLE’s at the 2017 VSB Annual Meeting on June 17, 2016.  For a detailed description of these CLE’s, please see the 2017 VSB Annual Meeting Program.

·       “Grace and Justice on Death Row”

·       “How Attorneys Can Promote and Advance Access to Justice”

·       “Autism and the Practice of Law”


Diversity Conference Board of Governors FY 2017-2018

The Diversity Conference Board of Governors voted unanimously to approve the following slate of nominated candidates to serve as officers for the 2017-2018 year. These candidates were approved by unanimous vote at the Diversity Conference’s Annual Meeting and luncheon held at the VSB Annual Meeting on Friday, June 16, 2017 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

  • Chair, Carole Capsalis
  • Chair-Elect, Luis Perez
  • Treasurer, Chidi James
  • Secretary, David Masterman
Updated: Jul 12, 2017