HBA-VA Applauds Virginia State Bar Council Decision to Fund the Diversity Conference

The Hispanic Bar Association of Virginia (HBA-VA) applauds the Virginia State Bar Council for their decision to fund the Diversity Conference.

The VSB currently funds three conferences: the Conference of Local Bar Associations, the Senior Lawyers Conference, and the Young Lawyers Conference.

The Diversity Conference of the Virginia State Bar has existed since 2010 following the Supreme Court of Virginia’s approval of its creation and mission. The Diversity Conference has received no money from bar dues; it has been funded through private donations from entities that support the activities of the conference that focus on “increasing diversity in the legal profession and . . . ensuring that Virginia meets the legal needs of an increasingly diverse population.” Last year, the conference learned that it would no longer be allowed to solicit donations as it had been doing and that it would be subject to the same rules, restrictions and limitations of government-funded entities, including the other three conferences, which are funded by the VSB.

The Attorney General of Virginia issued a formal opinion on October 2, 2015, that the mission of the conference creates no constitutional barrier to it being funded by revenue from mandatory dues. [See http://www.oag.state.va.us/files/Wexton_15.017.pdf and Keller v. State Bar of California,496 U.S. 1 (1990).]

The Mission of the Diversity Conference is:

  • To foster and encourage diversity in admission to the bar
  • To foster and encourage diversity in advancement in the profession
  • To foster and encourage diversity in the judiciary
  • To facilitate diversity in professional leadership opportunities
  • To ensure that Virginians’ changing legal needs are met

You can visit the Diversity Conference website by clicking here.