“The first portion of the rule would impose a duty on all attorneys to promote diversity and inclusion.”

Josh Blackman spots an article in the ABA Journal proposing a new ABA Model Rule 8.5 that would declare it “a lawyer’s professional responsibility to promote equality in society generally, diversity in the legal profession specifically, and encourage lawyers to devote 20 hours annually to activities directed toward promoting diversity in the profession.” Blackman writes:

The [proposed] Rule adopts a specific philosophical viewpoint–promoting diversity and inclusion–and makes it the orthodoxy for attorneys. Under this proposed rule, those who do not adopt that philosophy will be violating a “duty” and “ethical obligation.” Those who choose not to attend certain CLE classes would now be disregarding an aspirational goal….

Not every attorney agrees that “every lawyer has a professional duty to undertake affirmative steps to remedy de facto and de jure discrimination, eliminate bias, and promote equality, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.” Far too many attorneys–especially academics–take this statement as an unassailable fact of life. It’s not.

Bar associations exist to promote and regulate the legal profession. They do not exist to promote specific ideologies.

Compare ABA Model Rule 8.4(g), which Blackman and many others have argued is a step toward an unconstitutional speech code for attorneys, and the mandatory statements of support for diversity, equity and inclusion in the University of California system and elsewhere in higher education.

7 Comments

  • Enough is enough. At some point, the practice of law is going to have to be taken out of the control of state supreme courts and their state bar acolytes. It’s bad enough that they have silly CLE requirements that are the result of rent-seeking behavior and an almost thuggish response to any hint of lawyer criticism of the judiciary. Now, they are going to tell us that we have to support race preferences? Who are these people?

  • There is a world of difference between saying lawyers have an obligation not to steal from clients and to maintain confidentiality and saying they must promote a societal goal favored by the Left. This is especially so when the Left means some very specific things about inclusion such as trans people must be allowed into high school showers of the opposite sex, it is ok to discriminate against asians in college admissions, and it is dandy to put bakers out of business for not baking a rainbow cake. They can’t seem to imagine that anyone could disagree with these views. Even less can they imagine that affirmative action can be hurting minorities by getting them into schools where they can’t do the work so they drop out. So many adverse reasons not to have this. These people really are thought police.

  • Paraphrasing a famous speech: “I have a dream that we will one day live in a nation where we will not be judged by the color of our skin but by the content of our character.”

  • When the Ontario law society tried this recently, the response was a record number of lawyers voting in the board election for the law society, and a new board that immediately rescinded the requirement.

    https://nationalpost.com/news/ontarios-law-society-ditches-controversial-statement-on-diversity-but-loses-none-of-its-acrimony

  • Liberal ideologies have a nasty way of coming back and biting one, don’t they. “Fall in line or die” turns to “But not me!”

  • Check out the newest issue of the New York State Br Association Journal, in which the cover story is about the most crucial challenge facing the legal profession in New York: apparently, white supremacists.

    Unfortunately, I have already paid my dues for 2020.

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