The topic of increasing diversity and inclusiveness has become a top-of-mind issue in Colorado’s legal profession over the past few years. And the new head of attorney regulation hopes to keep carrying that torch. During the 2019 lawyer registration period, the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel has decided to revive an effort first tested in 2016 to collect demographics of the state’s attorney population. Attorney Regulation Counsel Jessica Yates said in order to increase diversity, the office first needs a snapshot of what Colorado’s legal profession looks like.
“There are already a number of initiatives in law schools, through the Center for Legal Inclusiveness and in law firms to improve diversity and inclusivity,” Yates said. “But it’s difficult to really measure how we’re doing on that unless we get information about who our attorneys are and be able to measure that over time.”
Yates took over as attorney regulation counsel from Jim Coyle, who retired last summer. In 2016, the OARC under Coyle circulated an email survey to Colorado’s attorneys asking for demographic information. But the survey’s timing then didn’t sync with the attorney registration cycle. Yates said the office chose to do that this year in hopes of increasing the number of responses, because promoting the survey in conjunction with registration will make filling it out more convenient for attorneys when they see it included with their registration reminder.