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Highlighting Utah’s Efforts to Increase Inclusion at the Federal Bar Association National Convention

By October 12, 2023News

Utah and UCLI were well represented at the Federal Bar Association’s (FBA) National Convention last month in Memphis, Tennessee. A five member panel made up of Jen Tomchack (Tomchack Skolout), Ross Romero (Inclusion Strategies), Michele Oldroyd (Utah State Bar and UCLI Leadership Council), Melinda Bowen (Snow, Christensen & Martineau and UCLI Co-President), and Jon Wayas (UCLI Associate Director) delivered a CLE presentation moderated by Jon Hafen. Jon Hafen is a UCLI board member, and was sworn-in as the new President of the Federal Bar Association at the convention. The presentation was titled, “Community Engagement Efforts to Diversify the Legal Community – Examples from Utah.” The presentation was well attended and gave panelists the chance to highlight the wide ranging programs and collaborations taking place to make Utah’s legal market more inclusive and diverse.

The program began with Ross Romero painting the picture of Utah’s changing demographics, and why diversity is so important to the legal market and to the business community in Utah. Michele Oldroyd followed by recounting what is happening from the Utah State Bar perspective with rulemaking and an increased effort on attorney wellbeing and mental health. Jen Tomchack was able to show the great work the Utah chapter of the FBA has been doing to support inclusion, specifically in regards to women in the legal profession. This includes the “Staying in the Game” initiative which kicks off with a CLE event on October 5, 2023. Melinda Bowen highlighted the great work being done by affinity groups like the Utah Minority Bar Association, LGBT and Allied Lawyers of Utah, Women Lawyers of Utah, and the Utah Black Lawyers Association. Melinda, who is a founding member of UCLI, shared the story of the organization’s creation. This led into the final portion where Jon Wayas shared about a number of the great programs and scholarships UCLI is currently offering. The presentation ended with a short Q&A.

UCLI is grateful to Jon Hafen and the FBA Convention’s planning committee for giving this group the opportunity to share the great work going on here in the State of Utah. UCLI continues to have great opportunities to share and teach through Continuing Legal Education (CLE). We hope you will join us soon for the final installment of the “Pathways to Inclusion” CLE series for 2023, and the great offerings we will have available throughout 2024.

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