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The Montgomery Bar Association’s diversity committee is gearing up to chip away at the predomination of non-minorities in the suburban county’s legal profession with its preparations for a diversity-themed job fair in the fall. The first step toward the diversity job fair in October will be a cocktail hour this spring. The diversity committee will host a reception for Montgomery County-based hiring attorneys and managing partners to explain the goal of the job fair: encouragement of the hiring of diverse candidates at the very beginning of the employment process. Daniel J. Clifford, chair of the diversity committee and managing partner of Wolf Block’s Norristown office, and Cheryl Lynne Austin, vice chair of the diversity committee and a solo practitioner, hope that attorneys responsible for hiring and management in their law firms, governmental legal departments and corporate legal departments will attend the event. The social hour is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. May 20 at the bar association’s building at 100 W. Airy St. in Norristown. “Our role right now is to be part of an educational process, trying to educate the legal community about the importance of diversity and the job fair is the culmination of our education efforts,” Austin said. The diversity job fair organizers hope that legal entities will participate in the job fair even if they do not currently have openings to recruit for in order to institutionalize the job fair within Montgomery County. The job fair will be open both to law students from regional schools and practicing attorneys interested in working in Montgomery County. The diversity committee became formalized when Robert F. Morris, president of the Montgomery Bar Association, made a diversity task force formed last year a standing committee. As the task force explored diversity within the Montgomery County bar last year, attorneys from diverse backgrounds whom the leaders of the bar association didn’t know began to participate in the task force, Austin and Clifford said. They hope that the diversity committee’s efforts will increase the involvement of attorneys from diverse backgrounds in the bar association’s leadership. They also hope that their efforts will increase the number of attorneys from diverse backgrounds in Montgomery County and better reflect the community the Montgomery County bar is serving. As part of the efforts to increase diverse participation within the bar association leadership, the committee has begun a regular column in the bar association’s newsletter highlighting a member of the committee in order to help increase his or her profile within the bar, Clifford said. Austin and Clifford are also encouraging the members of the diversity committee to participate in activities of the bar outside of the diversity committee. “We let them know they will be welcomed there,” Austin said. “In the past, it hasn’t always been considered welcoming.” The committee decided to focus on the job fair in its first year of existence to ensure it didn’t take on too many things at once, Clifford said.

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