Committed to Diversity

ALFA International Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement

We at ALFA International are deeply saddened by the recent visible evidence of racial injustice in America. Unfolding before us are clear examples showing that people of color are not only treated differently, but sometimes brutally, and most such instances are not captured on video. Two core principles guide us at ALFA International on the issues of diversity and inclusion. First, all people are created equally. Then, as important, discrimination in any form is not accepted or tolerated.

To that end, ALFA International has taken direct steps to enhance the promotion of diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our network. These measures began prior to the recent tragedies that have fostered reflection and action around the world, and we, too, are committed to doing more. These affirmative steps include:

  •  At every level of our leadership, we have fostered participation by members of all races, genders, and sexual orientations.
  • We have strengthened our Diversity and Inclusion Committee by granting it direct reporting authority to the Board of Directors.
  • We have provided scholarships to minority attorneys to attend our Practice Group Seminars and directly impact the demographics of our meetings.
  • We have encouraged and provided meaningful involvement in our Practice Groups to all our members, regardless of their gender, race, or sexual orientation.
  • We have partnered with the Diverse Attorney Pipeline Program (DAPP) for the past three years to place female law students of color in paid summer clerkship opportunities with ALFA International member firms.
  • We provide meaningful diversity and inclusion programming to our clients and members at our seminars.

While we will continue in these efforts going forward, we have much more to do and are committed to implementing these additional steps:

  • We will strive to ensure our organization reflects, in all respects, the world in which we live.
  • We will develop a tool kit for all members and staff to effectively and respectfully address diversity and inclusion issues by providing a wide range of available resources.
  • We are implementing an audit of all of our vendors to ensure that the people and organizations with whom we do business reflect the diversity of the world in which we live.
  • A comprehensive review will be conducted of all of ALFA International’s program venues in an effort to select locations and facilities that are welcoming to all of our clients and members.
  • We encourage all members to support efforts to promote equity and justice in their local communities. We are working to implement a day of service program to promote social justice and eradicate racism. We understand achieving this goal will be a DAILY effort—the day of service is intended to unify our organization in those efforts.
  • We are seeking other partnerships, like our rewarding relationship with DAPP, that will provide additional opportunities for minority students and attorneys.
  • The challenges to us are complex. They require us to be thoughtful, respectful, and deliberate. We will move forward with a clear vision and stand unequivocally to promote fairness and equality for persons of all races, genders, and sexual orientations. Our mission will not end until all people are treated equally and all discrimination is eliminated.

ALFA International Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
Sheila Kerwin, Chair

ALFA International is deeply committed to diversity. Diversity includes a wide range of differences based on ethnicity, race, gender, language, religion and sexual orientation. Former ALFA International Board Chair Gary Bague identified the need to create a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee to identify and undertake initiatives to enhance diversity and inclusion throughout the ALFAI organization and its member firms. The Board of Directors appoints the Committee. Sheila Kerwin serves as the current Chair of the Committee, replacing John Tarpley, who led the Committee from inception until 2020. The Committee has made substantial progress on the following initiatives over the last few years:

DAPP Pipeline Program

ALFA International is proud to partner with the Diverse Attorney Pipeline Program (DAPP). DAPP is a non-profit corporation that addresses the need to create more opportunities for women of color lawyers to attain positions in law firms and across other coveted positions in the legal profession. Every summer since 2018, ALFA International member firms have participated by hosting DAPP summer interns. ALFA International plans to continue and hopefully expand on this partnership. If you want more information on DAPP, please visit their website at https://dapprogram.org/.

Practice Group Seminar Scholarship/Incentive Program

The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee developed a scholarship program covering the registration fees for diverse attorneys to attend Practice Group Seminars. The practice groups help subsidize this program, which is available for racially and ethnically diverse candidates, members of the LGBTQ+ community and other underrepresented groups. The Selection Committee considers both the applicant’s credentials and the likelihood that the applicant’s firm will continue to support the applicant in future ALFAI endeavors. The Committee tracks the program’s successes and communicates with participants to share opportunities for involvement in practice groups and leadership in ALFA International.

In addition to initiating these programs, the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee has identified the following initiatives:

  • Creation of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee Liaisons for each Practice Group
  • Preparation and adoption of the ALFA International Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Policy
  • Preparation of ALFA International Law Firm Best Practices for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in our member firms
  • Recognition of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in our member firms through the ALFA International Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award
  • Creation of a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Client Advisory Board
Vendor Guideline

ALFA International expects its vendors to comply with all applicable laws regarding discrimination in hiring and employment practices.  Workers should always be treated with respect and dignity.  We expect vendors to maintain a workplace free of discrimination, harassment, victimization, and any other form of inappropriate behavior or abuse on any grounds including but not limited to age, disability, ethnic or social origin, gender, gender identity, nationality, race, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, pregnancy, political convictions, religious beliefs, union affiliation, or veteran status.

If ALFA International learns that a current or potential vendor has or is violating any of these guidelines, ALFA International reserves the right to terminate the relationship, subject to any contractual terms that may be applicable.

Venue Guideline

In securing a location for an ALFA International conference or off-site event, a variety of items will be considered, when possible and depending on the country/state.

ALFA International will strive to conduct its events and meetings at venues which do not have a history of discriminating against minority or diverse members of society and are not offensive to diverse attendees.  Venues such as former plantations are examples of venues that will not be included as destinations for ALFA International events. To the extent a venue’s history raises questions, ALFA International will make its concerns known to the venue and consider if the property has strived and managed to overcome that history by being inclusive and/or if the venue helps educate attendees on DE&I issues.

We will endeavor to look for venues owned and/or operated by a minority/diverse individual or company. We will take the time to research the current and past owners of potential venues to determine if they have a questionable history or practices. The location of all events during the conference should be accessible to all attendees and be ADA compliant, so that all attendees may enter and participate with dignity. Items such as gender-neutral bathrooms will also be considered.

It is the goal of ALFA International to ensure its attendees, but especially diverse participants, traveling to an ALFA International event are comfortable with the location and the general locale surrounding the venue.