What have you done to be an effective ally? The Young Lawyers Advisory Board published an article last fall that discussed the meaning of allyship and supporting and fostering diversity in the legal profession and society. That article, however, was a jumping off point for a larger, ongoing conversation in the profession about how to confront and implement change to end discrimination. It is crucial that a conversation about allyship not be a one-time discussion—indeed, to be an effective ally demands ongoing reflection and alterations in behavior to dismantle long-standing systemic bias and inequities in the field of law.
Over the past year, there has been much written about diversity, inclusion, and allyship. Let’s pause and look critically at what progress has been made, and what path lies before us in working toward an inclusive legal community. This month, New Jersey observes Juneteenth as a state holiday for the first time, recognizing the day in 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger informed enslaved persons in Galveston, Texas, of their freedom, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Additionally, during this LGBTQ+ Pride month, we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and reflect on the challenges they have faced in fighting for equality. We recognize the important contributions of attorneys of color and LGBTQ+ attorneys, and consider how we can do better in achieving justice and equity in our profession.