Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Resources for Lawyers
Those in the legal profession have played an important part in creating a more just society, with the skills and authority to fight important fights on behalf of those in need. As we continue to progress in this effort, meaningful work is being done to make the legal profession more egalitarian, striving toward a legal arena that guarantees equal access for all.
In order to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive law practice, one must commit to doing the work.
Good intentions are not enough to know how to navigate the complex dynamics that different individuals face when approaching the legal system. One must take the time to learn about the experiences of marginalized and disenfranchised communities to understand their unique needs and have the tools to respond accordingly. This is no small amount of effort, but it will be instrumental in developing a law career that does the very most for others.
Fortunately, many people out there understand the need for focused initiatives to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the world of law. Indeed, the American Bar Association’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Center is an initiative specifically designed to educate legal professionals on exactly this topic, and is one resource any lawyer interested in expanding their perspective should consult. Beyond sources within the legal community, the call for stronger DEI initiatives has come from those on the outside, including activist groups, advocacy organizations, educators, and more.
The following guide provides DEI resources for lawyers who want to broaden their perspectives. Topics concern a range of issues and identities so that you can devote space and consideration to each cause.
Those with Disabilities
Disability Rights Legal Center
The DRLC is an advocacy organization that seeks to empower individuals with disabilities through legal action. Their offerings include free legal assistance to people with disabilities who are experiencing discrimination in violation of their civil rights. Lawyers can also use their website to find valuable information on disability laws and guidelines to enhance their understanding of disability rights in legal practice.
National Council on Disability
The NCD is an independent federal agency promoting disability policy and practices. Their website provides reports and research on disability issues that lawyers can use to grasp the current state of disability policies and how they can be incorporated into legal strategies.
National Disability Rights Network
NDRN is a leading nonprofit organization offering legal representation and advocacy for people with disabilities. Their website includes numerous educational resources for lawyers, including publications, reports, and webinars that will help them understand the needs of clients with disabilities.
U.S. Department of Justice: The Americans with Disabilities Act
This website from the DOJ is devoted specifically to the Americans with Disabilities Act, including educational resources specifically for lawyers to understand the intricacies of ADA regulations and enforcement guidelines.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The EEOC is an organization of the U.S. Government that provides resources on disability rights in the workplace, including issues related to hiring and discrimination. Their website includes resources for lawyers to understand the full scope of clients’ workplace rights through a lens of disability services.
American Civil Liberties Union: Women’s Rights Project
This initiative of the ACLU works to fight gender-based discrimination through strategic litigation, advocacy, and organizing. Their website features extensive resources on all topics related to women’s rights, including recent and current court cases, podcasts, news items, and more.
Legal Momentum: The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund
This organization aims to advance women’s place in the legal profession through direct monetary support as well as advocacy efforts. Their website includes information on gender equality issues including fairness in the court, workplace empowerment, violence against women and girls, and more.
The National Association of Women Lawyers
The NAWL is a nonprofit organization devoted to the promotion of women in the field of law. Their website includes resources including webinars, the NAWLTalk podcast, The Women Lawyers Journal, and advocacy materials supporting gender equality in the field.
National Partnership for Women and Families
This organization advocates for policies that promote reproductive rights, maternity care, workplace fairness, and other frameworks that create a better quality of life for women. Their website includes research and legal resources that lawyers can use to support their efforts in gender-related cases.
This department of the United Nations is dedicated to fighting gender inequality worldwide. Lawyers can access global resources and data on gender issues and up to date information on international laws related to women’s rights.
The Human Rights Campaign: Laws and Legislation
The HRC is one of the largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organizations in the country. Their website features extensive resources, including a “Laws and Legislation” section with subtopics including State & Local Policy and Transgender Policy.
Lambda Legal is a national organization fighting for lived and legal equality for LGBTQ+ individuals through litigation, education, and public policy work. Their website provides resources for lawyers including legal tools and educational materials to better serve their LGBTQ+ clients.
The National LGBT Bar Association
This organization is the largest LGBTQ+ and Ally Lawyer Bar association in the country. Lawyers can join to gain access to resources, networking opportunities, and educational programs for LGBTQ+ lawyers and allies.
An initiative of the UCLA School of LAW, the Williams Institute is a think tank focusing on LGBTQ+ research and public policy. Lawyers can find scholarly articles and studies to inform their legal arguments and strategies.
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund
TLDEF is an advocacy organization dedicated to advancing transgender rights on a macro and micro level. Their website includes numerous resources for lawyers including educational materials and pro bono opportunities to support transgender individuals’ legal needs.
Equal Justice Initiative
The EJI is a nonprofit working to reform the criminal justice system with regard to race-based inequality and violence. Their website features extensive research on a host of topics including imprisonment, the legacy of slavery, anti-poverty efforts, and more.
The Legal Defense Fund
The Legal Defense Fund is an initiative of the NAACP focusing on civil rights litigation and advocacy. They offer numerous educational resources for lawyers as well as a variety of awareness-raising events.
The National Bar Association
Not to be confused with the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association is the nation’s oldest and largest bar association of predominantly Black American lawyers and judges. They offer numerous resources to members, including educational materials, webinars, and events.
The National Native American Bar Association
The NNABA is a bar association of lawyers from indigenous American communities. Their website provides information, networking opportunities, and resources to support Native American lawyers and to ensure that legal practices are sensitive to the particular needs of Indigenous clients.
The Sentencing Project
The Sentencing Project is an advocacy organization fighting against racial disparities in the criminal justice system. They offer numerous educational resources for lawyers on topics including fair sentencing and alternatives to incarceration.
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
AALDEF is a national organization aiming to advance the civil rights of Asian Americans through litigation, advocacy, and community education. Lawyers can access legal resources, reports, and webinars on AAPI-specific issues.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC)
AAJC is a nonprofit organization fighting for the civil rights of Asian Americans. Their website includes educational materials for lawyers on topics including national news, policy reports, toolkits, and more.
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA)
This chapter of the AFL-CIO is devoted to advancing AAPI rights in the workplace. Lawyers can find extensive information on labor issues including workplace discrimination, organizing efforts, and more.
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
NAPABA is the largest bar association for AAPI lawyers in the United States. They provide extensive resources to members, including mentorship opportunities, networking events, webinars, and more.
This organization is devoted to advancing equity for AAPI communities through organizing efforts with local organizations. Lawyers can access research, policy reports, and resources related to housing, community development, and immigration.
This nonprofit organization aims to advance the rights of LatinX communities along a range of issues. Their offerings include law-focused materials such as policy briefs, research reports, and other new initiatives.
Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA)
The Hispanic National Bar Association is the largest bar association for LatinX lawyers in the United States. Members of the association have access to networking opportunities, mentorship programs, and other resources that can assist lawyers in creating more equitable legal practices for LatinX clients.
This national civil rights organization is dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights of the Latinx community through litigation and advocacy. They provide legal resources for lawyers to understand issues affecting Latinx individuals.
National Immigration Law Center (NILC)
The NILC is a legal organization whose efforts are aimed at promoting the rights of immigrants, including those from LatinX communities. Their website provides litigation materials related to immigration law.
United We Dream
United We Dream is a youth-led activist organization focused on immigrant rights, particularly those of undocumented individuals and families. Lawyers can find extensive resources to understand the needs of undocumented LatinX individuals and learn how they can use their legal expertise to help.
Veterans + Active Duty
Veterans Legal Institute
VLI is a non-profit offering free legal services to low-income veterans. They offer opportunities for lawyers to get involved as pro bono attorneys as well as finding ways to provide assistance in other legal matters.
Vets Pro Bono
This program connects attorneys with disabled veterans who have been denied benefits by the VA. Lawyers can provide assistance with the legal procedures to reinstate benefits and other social services for veterans.
ACLU: Religious Liberty
The ACLU’s Religious Liberty initiative is devoted to protecting the religious liberties of people of all backgrounds. Their website provides information on legal history, current events, and more.
Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR)
CAIR provides legal services and resources for Muslims facing discrimination. Lawyers can access legal toolkits on topics related to Muslim civil rights as well as other important issues impacting the Muslim community.
Interfaith Alliance is an advocacy organization that champions religious freedom for all. Their website includes resources that can help lawyers understand key issues in defending religious rights.