Message from the Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair


Mariel E. Piilola, JD
"Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”  ---Desmond Tutu

I step in to chair ALA’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion with great gratitude to, and inspiration from, those who have served before me.  In 2017, our nine member committee has been recognized for its work by The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, “IILP” with the release of “IILP Review 2017: The State of Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession” featuring two resources developed by our committee.  Let me give you a little bit of history. (More information about the IILP can be found here: http://www.theiilp.com/)

In 2015, our committee decided to rewrite our Diversity Toolkit (“Toolkit”). This decision was made in an effort to further ALA’s goal to increase awareness of, and sensitivity to, diversity within ALA and the legal management community and in line with the mission of the committee to educate legal industry leaders about why diversity is important and how we can work to bring diversity and inclusion to the legal workplace.  It was clear to us that to be successful in an increasingly diverse world, leaders must be able to manage and leverage the differences that exist in their workforce, suppliers and clients.  The Toolkit was written with the intent to provide a general overview of how to approach diversity and inclusion:  not only as a starting point but with tools to dig deeper and as a source of inspiration for to try a new approach. 

In years prior to 2015, the committee developed “Diversity & Inclusion, 60 Tips in 75 Minutes (“60 Tips”). This lecture and PowerPoint presentation is about why diversity and inclusion is important and how we can do a better job bringing diversity and inclusion to our lives and work places.  This presentation is unique in that it is designed so that it could be presented by any committee member at any one of the multiple ALA Chapters, and includes valuable content and education for a reasonable cost. There is no charge for the presentation; the only costs are the presenter’s travel and lodging expenses. This presentation has been given at over 45 ALA Chapters nationwide.

In order to demonstrate thought leadership by ALA in the area of diversity and inclusion, then Committee Chair Shari Tivy, urged us to submit the Toolkit to IILP for consideration for publication in their periodic review.  Then, shortly after that call for submissions, the IILP called for submissions of “Highly noteworthy diversity and inclusion efforts” to be highlighted in the “Practice Round-Up” portion of their “Review.” The Toolkit was submitted for possible publication and  “60 Tips” for consideration in the “Practice Round-Up.” Early in 2016, ALA CDI was notified that both submissions had been accepted for publication!

On Monday, May 8, 2017, the IILP released “IILP Review 2017: The State of Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession.” This publication is a significant undertaking, with well over 300 pages devoted to the state of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.  I am extremely proud of our committee’s work and for it to be included this publication. Please follow this link to the entire “IILP Review 2017” which includes, at page 39, “The Association of Legal Administrators Diversity Toolkit”  and at page 312, “The Association of Legal Administrators (“ALA”) Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, 60 Tips in 75 Minutes.”

IILP Review 2017:  The State of Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession 

Thank you to all past and current ALA CDI members for your efforts making our committee and it’s important initiatives, the force that we have become today. But we are not done!

Explore ALA’s diversity webpage at www.alanet.org/about/diversity for multiple resources available to your legal services organization or chapters. Engage in discussion by contacting our team at diversity@alanet.org with for guidance with your inclusion efforts.  Join ALA’s discussion forum on diversity, or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.  Attend ALA’s 2018 National Conference where specially selected speakers will provide quality education on issues of diversity and inclusion.  Schedule us to speak at your chapter with our newly developed presentation: “Creating Culturally Competent Legal Organizations” for only the cost of travel and  a night’s lodging, if required, for the committee member who gives the presentation.  Become aware of your own unconscious bias by taking one or more of the confidential Harvard Implicit Association tests at http://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

We are constantly working to learn, update our resources and provide you with new insight. Join us in doing a “little bit of good where you are.” We are here to help.  

Mariel E. Piilola, JD
Chair, ALA Committee on Diversity and Inclusion
2017-2018
Director of Administration
Larkin Hoffman