Affinity Bar Associations and Engaging the Millennial Attorney: The Benefits of Participating and Leading in Affinity Bar Associations

September 2016Articles New Jersey State Bar Association Diversity Committee Newsletter 

Asad Rizvi co authored the New Jersey State Bar Association Diversity Committee Newsletter article, "Affinity Bar Associations and Engaging the Millennial Attorney: The Benefits of Participating and Leading in Affinity Bar Associations."

From Fortune 500 companies to the solo law practice, all businesses, big and small, share a common goal: improving the bottom line. In a world increasingly woven together by globalization, businesses must quickly adapt to diverse perspectives and backgrounds in order to remain profitable. In addition to the inherent benefits of diversifying the legal profession as a social goal, the financial benefits of making efforts toward increased diversity in the legal profession are plentiful.1 For instance, a diverse legal community facilitates increased participation in the labor force by previously marginalized communities, thereby improving the overall economy and helping businesses reach untapped markets. One critical way in which the legal profession can enhance diversity is through the vehicle of affinity bar associations. These associations play an instrumental role in attracting, developing, retaining, and advancing millennial attorneys and diversifying the legal profession.

Affinity bar associations are organizations of attorneys that are generally identified by a common race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, among other affiliations (e.g., South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey, New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association, New Jersey Women Lawyers Association). While each affinity bar association has a unique mission statement, many are united by a similar objective: to promote the needs, interests, and goals of their members and to increase the visibility of traditionally marginalized groups in the practice of law. In an increasingly diverse society, affinity bar associations play a crucial role in lobbying for the needs of attorneys across the demographic spectrum, particularly in light of a legal profession that continues to make efforts toward reflecting and representing the makeup of the nation as a whole.

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