With the death of George Floyd, many law firms and legal organizations are more open and receptive to bringing about change and are actively engaged in creating a more diverse and racially inclusive work environment. This session, presented by Cecilia B. Loving, Esq., Deputy Commissioner and Chief Diversity Officer of the Fire Department of NYC (“FDNY”); Wendy Star, Esq., Director of FDNY Diversity and Inclusion Policy Initiatives; Weijin (Gina) Leow, FDNY Diversity and Inclusion Manager; and Bobby Codjoe, Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Cardozo Law School, will go beyond a discussion of implicit bias to explore how leaders in the legal profession can be more proactive in supporting and sustaining a more inclusive work environment. Together, they will teach how senior and supervising attorneys can lean into discomfort to improve self-awareness and become more accountable to the necessary work of inclusion by creating firm-wide mentorship programs, professional development opportunities for attorneys, creating connections between different demographics of attorneys within the firm, cultivating the skills of diverse attorneys, and creating an inclusive culture of value and respect for every attorney in the workplace.
Explore the critical need for inclusion within the legal profession, and what inclusion means
Provide practical strategies that legal leadership can implement to cultivate and support a more positive and inclusive work environment
Discuss practices that supervising attorneys can employ to give attorneys in the workplace the opportunities and professional development necessary to succeed
Develop strategies to support racial justice and healing in the profession, and learn how to engage in dialogue around these issues in the legal workplace
Recognize the existence of implicit bias within the legal profession and the need to overcome it, in order to improve the legal community internally and the quality of legal services provided to clientele
CECILIA B. LOVING is Deputy Commissioner and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (“CDIO”) at the Fire Department of New York City, where she provides leadership for a positive and holistic work environment for over 17,000 members. Certified in Diversity and Inclusion by Cornell University, Restorative Circle Keeping by Planning Change and Courageous Conversations by the Winters Group, she oversees the Fire Commissioner’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, Bravest Women Talks, Women’s Summits, Courageous Conversations, 10-Talks, Firehouse Kitchen Table Talks, Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Labs, Inclusion Strategy Videos, Inclusive Leadership Training, and similar initiatives. She previously worked as a Law Enforcement Bureau Attorney and EEO Counselor for NYC’s Commission on Human Rights, as well as a litigator at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, Kramer Levin, and the Legal Aid Society. She chaired the Board of Directors for the Practicing Attorneys for Law Students, Inc., the first diversity and inclusion organization in the legal profession. She is founder of the Mindfulness Group at FDNY, where she publishes both a Diversity and Inclusion Newsletter and a Mindfulness Newsletter. She is also Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the NYC Bar Association’s first Committee on Mindfulness and Well-Being in the Law. In addition to obtaining her JD from NYU School of Law, Cecilia obtained her BFA from Howard University, MFA from UCLA and MDiv from NY Theological Seminary. She has received several awards, including but not limited to the FDNY Women’s History Award and the Women on the Front Line of Gender Justice Award. She is the proud recipient of the New York City Bar Association's 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award. She is author of several books, including but not limited to God is a Brown Girl Too; Prayers for Those Standing on the Edge of Greatness; and Ten Laws of Unlimited Success, as well as author of numerous articles, such as “The Power of Inclusion: Treating Others Well is Essential to Our Well-Being”; “More Support for Mindfulness: Reduction of Implicit Bias”; and “This Ancient Practice Helps Resolve Workplace Conflict.”
WENDY M. STAR is Director of Policy Initiatives for Diversity and Inclusion at the Fire Department of New York City. In addition to providing leadership for more than 40 affiliated organizations at FDNY, Wendy also provides leadership in diversity and inclusion training initiatives, as well as legal issues pertaining to equity and inclusion. She is a Certified Restorative Circle Keeper and Secretary of the New York City Bar Mindfulness and Wellbeing in Law Committee. Previously, she served as Senior Counsel with the Office of General Counsel at New York State United Teachers (“NYSUT”) where she represented teachers, school-related professionals and unions in labor and employment law matters. Prior to her employment at NYSUT, Wendy was a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Division. Wendy also advocates for the rights of refugees here in the United States and internationally. She received her Juris Doctorate from Golden Gate University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Purchase College where she studied women’s studies, political science and paper arts.
Gina Leow grew up as an ethnically Chinese American in a Greek household. Her experiences made her more curious and mindful of the cultural diversity around her, especially living in Queens, one of the most ethnically diverse urban areas in the world. Her love of volunteerism led her to teach English to college students in Sichuan, China from 2014-2016 with the United States Peace Corps. Upon returning to the U.S., she designed New York University's first M.A. program in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She is now the Diversity and Inclusion Manager at the Fire Department of New York City. She has certification in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University and is a trained restorative circle keeper. She helped create the first Mindfulness and Well-Being Toolkit for the New York City Bar Association 's Mindfulness and Well-Being in Law Committee.
Bobby is the Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Prior to joining Cardozo Law, Bobby served as an associate in the Legal Affairs Bureau of the New York City Fire Department. Bobby's practice focused on investigations of misconduct and discrimination. Prior to joining the Fire Department Bobby served as a Senior Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society where he represented clients in Kings County. He handled misdemeanor and felony cases from inception to verdict. Bobby received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Delaware where he received
the Delaware State Bar Association’s “Haile Alford Scholarship.” Bobby received his J.D., from Howard University School of Law where he was a member of the Criminal Justice Clinic as well as the Huver I. Brown Trial Advocacy Team. He is a recipient of Howard Law’s award for “Outstanding Achievement in Trial Advocacy.” Bobby is admitted to practice in New York.
This segment was informative, inspiring, encouraging and uplifting. I loved the self-care tools and the holistic approach of this CLE. All of the presenters were fantastic. Thank you all!
Wonderful presentation. Thank you!
This was an exceptional presentation. Thank you!!
Outstanding course for everyone, not just lawyers.
Excellent content. Expansive coverage of topic and unique insights.
I want to apply this for DEI work for an earlier period.
I can't tell you how happy I was to see that you based this class on mindfulness. Thank you! I am taking yoga teacher training now and it is helping my multicultural work tremendously!
I really liked the multifaceted approach to this topic. This issue touches on absolutely everything we do with lawyers and I liked the broad-based approach taken to discussing it
Speakers were very articulate
Have to take it.
Most compassionate CLE ever. Well done and important. Thank you.
Interesting presentation---different approach from what I expected, but still effective.
Very valuable insights and practical tips which go way, way beyond the practice of law
Thank you so very much, Cecilia and Team. This was awesome and very fundamental to our legal profession.
If the educational objective was reverse racism and playing upon white guilt for a payday in the pursuit of bar required "bias elimination", then yes, this course met my educational objectives.
This was a really wonderful program. As a person who is very concerned and aware particularly about mentoring the next generation of attorneys, I found the information and ideas here super helpful. Thanks to the whole team, well done!
The presenters were wonderful.
Great concrete and specific suggestions for creating inclusive environments.
Best program on this topic! Gina was exceptional!
wonderful presentation, thank you!
This was a great course! Much needed in the legal profession! It was amazing!