Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion mission of ALFA International (ALFAI) is grounded in the recognition and appreciation of the unique potential within every individual.

The two core principles that drive ALFAI’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts are:

  1. All people are deserving of equal opportunities and treatment.
  2. Discrimination in any form is not accepted or tolerated.

To that end, ALFAI has taken direct steps to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of the network. These affirmative steps include:

  • ALFAI has a robust and active Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee that is empowered by direct reporting to the Board of Directors.
  • At every leadership level, ALFAI fosters participation by members of all backgrounds, races, genders, sexual orientations, and those with disabilities.
  • ALFAI provides scholarships to underrepresented attorneys to attend its Practice Group (PG) Seminars, which directly impacts the demographics of its PG meetings. Furthermore, ALFAI works closely with those attorneys to ensure they are fully immersed within the PG and actively participate in future ALFAI activities.
  • ALFAI created DEI Committee Liaisons for each PG to ensure DEI initiatives are continuously discussed and implemented throughout the network.
  • ALFAI provides meaningful diversity and inclusion programming to its clients and members through PG seminars and webinars. Please review such webinars HERE.
  • ALFAI developed and offers a DEI Tool Kit of valuable resources for all members and staff to address DEI issues effectively and respectfully.
  • ALFAI completed a comprehensive review of all event venues to ensure the locations and facilities selected are welcoming to all clients and members.
  • ALFAI is implementing an audit of its vendors to ensure that the people and organizations with whom ALFAI does business reflect the diversity of the world in which we live.
  • ALFAI encourages all members to support efforts to promote equity and justice in their local communities, including seeking local partnerships that provide opportunities for underrepresented students and attorneys.
  • ALFAI prepared and adopted a DEI Policy and Law Firm Best Practices for DEI for its member firms.
  • Questions related to a firm’s commitment to DEI initiatives are now included in the application form potential new ALFAI member firms must complete to be considered for network membership.
  • A DEI Forum was created for ALFAI member firms to share best practices as they continue developing these initiatives in their firms.
  • ALFAI partnered with the Diverse Attorney Pipeline Program (DAPP) for four years to place female law students of color in paid summer clerkship opportunities with its member firms and is actively seeking similar “pipeline” and relationship-building opportunities.

While ALFAI will continue in these efforts, there is much more to do to ensure the network reflects, in all respects, the world in which we live. The challenges are complex and require thoughtful, respectful, and deliberate action. ALFAI moves forward with a clear vision and stands unequivocally to promote fairness and equality for persons of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and those with disabilities. ALFAI’s mission will not end until all people are afforded equal opportunities, and all discrimination is eliminated.

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

The DEI Committee developed a scholarship program covering the registration fees for diverse attorneys to attend PG Seminars. The PGs help subsidize this program, which is available for racially and ethnically diverse candidates, members of the LGBTQ+ community, those with disabilities 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 Selection Committee tracks the program’s successes and communicates with participants to share opportunities for involvement in PGs and leadership within ALFAI.

Vendor Guideline

ALFAI 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 ALFAI learns that a current or potential vendor has or is in violation of any of these guidelines, ALFAI reserves the right to terminate the relationship, subject to any contractual terms that may be applicable.

Venue Guideline

In securing a location for an ALFAI seminar or off-site event, various items will be considered, depending on the country/state.

ALFAI will strive to conduct its seminars and events at venues that do not have a history of discrimination and are not offensive to diverse attendees. For example, venues such as former plantations will not be considered for an ALFAI event. ALFAI will research current and past owners of potential venues to determine if the venue has a questionable history or practices. To the extent a venue’s history raises questions, ALFAI will make its concerns known to the venue and evaluate if the property has taken appropriate measures to address its history in an honest manner that promotes healing and reconciliation. 

ALFAI will endeavor to look for venues owned and/or operated by a diverse individual or company. ALFAI will ensure that the location of its seminar events and activities will be accessible to all attendees and be ADA-compliant so that all attendees can enter and participate with dignity. Items such as gender-neutral bathrooms will also be considered.

ALFAI aims to ensure its attendees, especially its diverse participants, are comfortable with the location and the general locale surrounding an ALFAI seminar or event venue.

“In addition to the Hospitality & Retail Seminar's programming being outstanding as usual, I was very moved that the team made the investment in bringing Minda Harts to speak at the conference. It was just another example of ALFAI's authentic commitment to DE&I and creating welcoming spaces, and it meant a lot. ALFAI is very special in that it doesn't just talk the talk about client service - it walks the walk.”