An antidiscrimination rule may increase the responsibility of lawyers to educate themselves and raise their awareness regarding diversity issues. Some question whether there is a sufficient amount of available resources on diversity issues to meet that need for additional education.
First, there are already many available resources for those who take the time to educate themselves. Regular education specific to the legal industry is already provided by local women’s bar associations and other local diverse bar associations, as well as national organizations such as the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations (NCWBA), the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP), the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, the ABA Diversity and Inclusion Center, and the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL). In addition, other organizations and thought leaders provide broader diversity education across industries and issues, such as Andrea Kramer and Al Harris, Sheryl Axelrod, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), and Joan C. Williams, to name a few examples.
In other words, there is already a significant amount of available education. However, even if some feel that additional resources are needed, 1) the need for additional resources is no justification for failing to address discrimination in our profession; 2) states can set a later effective date for the adoption of the model rule, along with a plan to either increase the amount of available resources prior to the effective date, or to take the time to gather and publicize lists of available resources prior to the effective date.