The Committee for Diversity and Inclusion (“CDI”), Palm Beach Bar Association’s only permanent standing committee, has a strong commitment to bring racial, ethnic and gender diversity to all levels of practice and service in Palm Beach County. This commitment has historically been focused on attracting new blood to our community, in particular through the Bar’s Diversity Internship Program that has been revamped in recent years to include participation of many of Palm Beach County’s government agencies and top law firms. Within the last year, the Committee has also identified a great need to strive for diversity on the Bench and Judicial Nominating Commission (“JNC”). As one panelist stated at FAWL’s Road to the Bench/JNC event on January 19, 2012, a diverse Bench contributes to the perception of fairness and equality in our community.
Without a doubt, our local Bar has qualified diverse candidates who can serve with great distinction on the Bench and JNC. Yet, vacancy after vacancy, the diversity of these bodies seems to improve slightly, if at all. To help change that pattern, the Committee has designed a website to offer some assistance to those diverse candidates who are interested in serving on our local Bench and JNC. For those interested in serving on the Bench, the website provides a sign up list for mentors and mentees, lists current vacancies on the Bench, and provides the current application for the Bench. The sign up process also ensures that participants will be notified when there are vacancies on the Bench and the JNC. Importantly, the website also provides important insights about the judicial application process gathered from members of the Board of Governors and the Bench.
We encourage all diverse candidates who are interested in the Bench and JNC to visit this new website. While this website is a step in the right direction, CDI is open to considering other ideas from our legal community to help foster this important mission.