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CWBA Diversity & Inclusion Committee's Survey Results

Anyone who has taken a survey has one goal in mind; making sense of the answer. For example, as a result of my recent survey participation, I now know that I should live in Amsterdam (false) and that I am a New-York-style pizza (that actually makes sense). I would argue that the results of your CWBA Diversity and Inclusion Ad Hoc Committee’s “3-Question, 5-Minute Survey” are even more useful. Ruchi Kapoor and I, standing on the shoulders of CWBA giants, usual suspects, and newcomers got together to bring you some answers.



This fall, we asked CWBA members and members of our diversity bar associations to answer three questions:

  1. What do you believe are the barriers to making the CWBA more diverse and inclusive?

  2. What do you believe are the most obvious steps the CWBA could take to become a more diverse and inclusive organization?

  3. What have you always wanted the CWBA to do or stop doing to become more diverse and inclusive?

The following is a summary of the recurring themes.


We learned that diversity meant many things and we loved that! Diversity in leadership experiences, age diversity, and diversity of speakers and topics were recurring themes. On the flip side, many respondents identified the CWBA as being expensive and home to cliques. Many more identified something I suspected we had in the front of our minds: the issue of Colorado and, specifically, the Colorado bar not being notably diverse.


Respondents to the survey helped us resolve some of these opportunities for growth with common-sense solutions like increasing outreach, partnering with diversity bars, building events that focus on intersectional interests, and making the path to leadership more transparent. Reducing costs of events, hosting additional free events, and offering discounts for members of multiple diversity bars also topped the charts as proposed solutions.


Your grassroots responses came out in response to our request for you to think outside the box in question three. We heard over and over that you would like to see us get out in the community, recruit allies, host simple and affordable get-togethers all over the metro area and state, invite non-legal community members to engage with us, table at community events like Cinco de Mayo and Pride, and improve access to law school starting with students.


Calculating the Results


Using the results of this survey, the diversity and inclusion committee has developed a four-pillar approach to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the CWBA.


1. Visibility and Accessibility: The committee will work toward ensuring that every member feels welcome at all CWBA-hosted events and CLE, and that those events are reflective of the bright and vibrant membership of the CWBA.


Action Steps toward this pillar include:

· Having ambassadors welcome guests and newer faces at events

· Reaching out to people traditionally underrepresented in the legal community, and

· Fostering mutuality with other diversity bars for events and CLE.


2. “Pipe Up”: The committee will work on developing a pipeline of diverse leadership in the Colorado legal community, including thinking of ways to build the pipeline as early as possible.


Action Steps toward this pillar include:

· Considering how CWBA and its members can inspire interest and provide education for children and teens in traditionally underrepresented groups to practice law

· Supporting traditionally underrepresented attorneys with mentoring and education geared toward achieving their career and leadership goals, and

· Developing other ‘micro’ leadership opportunities to empower people who might otherwise not think of themselves as leaders.


3. Cost: The committee will work toward assessing reasonable costs for a membership organization like the CWBA and analyzing how those costs can be reduced or mitigated in relation to specific members.


Action Steps toward this pillar include:

· Strengthening marketing of the joint membership benefits already provided to folks participating in more than one specialty bar

· Aiming to host more free, informal events, and

· Looking for creative solutions to reducing cost barriers to engagement for CWBA members.


4. Internal Policies and Procedures: The committee will work to develop a bank of organizational tools that other committees can draw upon as they plan events, as well as strengthen internal CWBA policies and procedures so that they are in line with strategic objectives related to diversity and inclusion.


Action Steps toward this pillar include:

· Developing and creating metrics for including diverse vendors and speakers during event planning and ensuring events are accessible in every sense

· Engaging in an internal listening tour to understand what the CWBA’s committees each individually need to meet strategic goals

· Listening to outside partners to understand engagement with the CWBA, and

· Creating a transparent path to leadership both within and outside of the CWBA.


We look forward to seeing these pillars in action. We want the CWBA to serve all of you, no matter where you live or what kind of pizza you are. Thanks for pointing us in the right direction. If you have other ideas that you don’t think are reflected here, talk to us!


Contact the CWBA D&I Co-Chairs, Magistrate Melina Hernandez at melina.hernandez@judicial.state.co.us or Ruchi Kapoor at roopakihcur@gmail.com.

Magistrate Melina Hernandez has worked as a Magistrate in the Denver Juvenile Court since early 2017 and as a family court facilitator in the Denver District court since 2013. She specializes in family law issues specific to unrepresented indigent parties.