The Diversity Law Institute (DLI) is a nonprofit international association of lawyers and law firms committed to diversity in all aspects of the legal profession and justice systems of the United States and Canada. Its purpose and mission is to advance the interests of women and minorities in the profession and to aid in the administration of justice wherever possible. Its current membership exceeds 3,700 private practice lawyers, judges, in-house counsel and legal scholars. Members are from every U.S. state and the provinces of Canada, and also include representatives from Europe and Asia.
Membership in the DLI is open to all North American lawyers and law firms, in every area of practice, and is contemporaneous with Litigation Counsel of America (LCA) and Construction Lawyers Society of America (CLSA) Fellowships. Law firm memberships, sponsorships and support are encouraged.
In 2011, the DLI began work on Law Suits for Justice, a program designed to provide criminal defendants with appropriate courtroom attire for purposes of reducing negative perceptions while on trial. For more information, contact Avery Henry at Avery.Henry@diversitylawinstitute.org.
The DLI also coordinates with the Trial Law Institute (TLI) to create through member contributions an archive on jury demographics in jurisdictions throughout North America. For more information on the archive, contact G. Steven Henry at Steve.Henry@litcounsel.org.
For information regarding membership in the DLI or sponsorship of the DLI, contact Avery Henry at Avery.Henry@diversitylawinstitute.org.
The concept for the DLI originated in 2008 through Litigation Counsel of America Executive Director G. Steven Henry, LCA Chief Operating Officer Dottie Henry, and LCA Fellows Charles Griffin (MS) and Rickey McKinney (AL). The late Jock Smith (AL) of the Cochran Firm was a contributor to the concept beginning in 2009, along with then-LCA President Jack Williams (GA), of Jones Day, whose former firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP, sponsored the DLI’s first Diversity Summit in Atlanta. Since then, all LCA Presidents, including Sharla J. Frost (TX), J. Ric Gass (WI), Peter Perlman (KY), William E. Wagner (CA), Thomas V. Girardi (CA), Justice Karen F. Green (MA) and Rusty Hardin (TX) and 2017 Construction Lawyers Society of America President William G. Geisen (KY) and President-Elect Barbara G. Werther (DC) have helped in expanding the potential elements and influence of the DLI by broadening membership among minority-owned law firms across the U.S. Official formation of the DLI as a separate association took place in 2011 and, respecting the efforts of other organizations engaging in diversity-based initiatives, thereafter the institute set its sights on focused initiatives deemed purposeful for growth and continuity, with development of additional pro-diversity objectives as its goal.