by Jamie Sorenson, Organizational Inclusion Committee Chair
From the inception of the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion, the Organizational Inclusion committee was tasked with the creation and implementation of a UCLI Certification Program. The Certification Program is one of the many vehicles UCLI would use to enhance diversity and inclusion in Utah’s legal profession. By going directly to legal employers, you had the best opportunity to affect both the retention and hiring of diverse attorneys in the state of Utah.
Among other requirements for a legal employer to be certified in 2020, legal employers had to designate a UCLI representative from its own leadership; adopt and implement a diversity and inclusion policy; host an internal CLE on UCLI’s purpose, the importance of diversity and inclusion, and related issues; have two members of senior management complete at least three hours of D&I training; and complete a UCLI survey.
After launching UCLI Certification in 2020, fifty-three employers chose to enroll in the program, with the Utah Attorney General’s Office to be the first legal employer to enroll and Parr Brown Gee & Loveless to be the first Utah law firm to enroll. The Juab County Attorney’s Office was the first enrollee to complete 2020 Certification. UCLI certification is not limited to law firms and government employers, but also includes businesses with multiple attorneys such as eBay, Inc.
Throughout the year, the message of UCLI has been spread as Aida Neimarlija and Melinda Bowen, as executive directors of UCLI, have made presentations to each of these legal employers. The presentations have been well received and many have commented that their eyes were open to issues and ideas which they had not thought of previously.
Heading into 2021, UCLI Certification will continue with new requirements for certification, including a train the trainer event focused on inclusion within legal workplace. In addition, there will be a focus on growing the program among small and medium sized legal employers