Where We Stand: Real change. Now.

The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (“IILP”) stands with all those who seek justice for George Floyd and others like him whose lives have been lost to systemic and personal racism and bigotry. We stand with the countless people, many nameless and faceless, who endure inequality and injustice by virtue of being Black in America. And we stand with those who demand due process, pursue equal justice, and protect human rights and dignity.

In the last week, we have suffered pain, fear, anger, and heartache of immeasurable magnitude.  From the pandemic, with countless lost lives and livelihoods, to the current unrest arising from witnessing the murder of a Black man at the hands a police officer while other officers idly stand by, the killing of a Black jogger who will never return from his run, and the death of a Black woman who was at home, in her own bed – and the incessant fear and worry about who’s next – to the awakening by many who are, perhaps for the first time, finding themselves inescapably confronted with the frustration, invisibility, and injustice that are a daily part of the normal lives of Black Americans, we are a people in pain.

As members of a profession uniquely positioned to advance equal justice for all. It is unconscionable to us – and it should be unconscionable to all lawyers – that racism and its accompanying inequities are permitted to continue to plague our country as virulently as COVID-19. The pandemic forced us to see race-based social and health inequities. Ahmaud Arbery’s execution reminded us – again – of the dangers of jogging while Black. Amy Cooper’s false police report against a Black man who was bird-watching is a case study for White privilege. And George Floyd’s murder vividly illustrated that these are not rare, isolated incidents but part of a systemic pattern of insidious, pervasive, and life-choking racism.

Having seen, none of us can un-see. It is incumbent upon the legal profession to work to stop such tragedies from happening again. The 14th Amendment guarantees due process and equal protection under law; it is not only the duty of the legal profession to fulfill that promise and dismantle the systemic racism that undermines it, it is a moral imperative. So long as equal justice under the law remains aspirational. So long as racism is so normalized that some can even deny its existence, while others quietly endure it, and still others choose to either blame others or the victims. So long as these things are true, we are eroding the very core principles of our professional responsibility.

There is no excuse for any of us to continue wearing blinders about racism. It is a societal problem that is also endemic to our profession. The time has now come to talk openly about it. Not in theory or in the abstract. In public. In our personal experiences. In reality. And then, act upon it. IILP launched #TalkIntoAction two years ago as part of an effort to achieve this openness. Because any of us who are Black, any of our Black family members, friends, or colleagues could have been George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery or Christian Cooper or Breonna Taylor. It is time to put #TalkIntoAction so that we can learn from it and find ways to prevent it ever happening again.

THE INSTITUTE FOR INCLUSION IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION

Our Mission

For too long a wall of uniformity has defined the legal profession.

A wall that limits entry and advancement based on race, ethnicity, color, culture, gender, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, geography and age. A wall that has stood in the way of real change. A wall that has left the legal profession an anachronism in an increasingly diverse society.

Past efforts to increase diversity in the legal profession have been sincere but not inclusive enough...not ambitious enough...not robust enough. That’s about to change.

The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession will drive real progress through comprehensive outreach and original programming to replace barriers with bridges between legal, judicial, professional, educational and governmental institutions. We will provide high schools, colleges, and law schools with programs to help students excel in an ever-more competitive world, and give young people real hope that there’s a path to success in the law. We will give law firms, bar associations, corporations and government agencies insights for business development and tools to eliminate bias. We will help people spot and get rid of the obstacles to inclusion - from policies...to fear of open discussion...to entrenched attitudes.

Our work begins now, with a simple goal: Fewer walls, more doors.

Real Change. Now.

 

 

Our Core Philosophy

The legal profession must be diverse and inclusive. Why? It goes to our core philosophy:

  • Diversity and inclusion is first and foremost a matter of social justice. "Social justice" means intrinsic fairness and equality, which, to achieve, often requires a remedial element to overcome a lack of diversity. The demographics of our society are changing. Our system of justice, which represents one of society’s most fundamental values, requires a legal profession that is contemporary in composition and has an outlook that is in sync with the society it serves.
  • It is intolerable for the legal profession to lag behind other professions in diversity and inclusion. Other professions, which require just as much schooling but less direct focus on such values as justice, leadership, and democracy, have achieved diversity and inclusion. We are a profession of leaders and problem-solvers who are on the front lines, protecting, preserving and promulgating equality and fairness. That we are unable to correct a serious deficiency in our own profession is unacceptable.
  • Market intervention is necessary for real change. In theory, the legal profession should have become more diverse and inclusive as a matter of course. But theory has not translated into reality. History has already shown that without impetus, a more diverse and inclusive legal profession is not inevitable. Market intervention and other concrete steps are therefore necessary.

 

 

Why We're Different and What We Do

 

 

Contact

Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession
321 South Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60604

(312) 628-5885
Info@TheIILP.com

 

 

 

   
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