The Massachusetts SJC is seeking to support inclusion by sourcing necessary demographic information through its Rule 4:02 on Periodic Registration of Attorneys; comments are due October 21, 2020.
Improving Well-Being through Inclusion across the Massachusetts Bar
Enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion is “crucial to our individual and collective well-being,” as observed in the July 2019 report from the Massachusetts SJC Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being. As with any goal, action steps require data to inform them and measure their progress.
The 2019 Report recognized the need to collect demographic data on an annual basis in order to track diversity throughout the Massachusetts Bar, as discussed in a recent announcement from the now SJC Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being. The Committee notes that approximately one-third of attorneys participated in a one-time survey intended to kickstart the process, the results of which unsurprisingly demonstrated a significant lack of diversity, and that additional data such as location, type of work, and bar association affiliation is key to implementing effective programs and services:
“Ongoing collection of this data will help to continue to improve lawyer programs and services. The Report recommends that a system to collect demographic data on an ongoing basis be integrated into the annual registration process. Report at 22. To incorporate this survey into the annual registration process, the SJC is considering amending its Rule 4:02, entitled “Periodic Registration of Attorneys,” to include a requirement that attorneys complete a demographic and law practice survey the results of which will be used solely for the purpose of developing services and programs to aid lawyers. Individual survey results will be treated as confidential.”
Comments Due Wednesday, October 21
The Committee is seeking comments on the rule authorizing the survey as part of the BBO’s annual registration process, which SJC Rule 4:02 requires lawyers to complete. The demographic information in the survey would be confidential. If the amendment is adopted by the Supreme Judicial Court, the Board of Bar Overseers will take the necessary steps to include completing the survey as part of its registration process.
Review Proposed Amendments to SJC Rule 4:02, Periodic Registration of Attorneys (redlined) here. Send your comments to Christine P. Burak, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108 on or before October 21, 2020. Comments may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments received will be made available to the public.