University of Pittsburgh
June 11, 2007

Pitt's Law School and Center on Race and Social Problems to Host Summer Institute on Enhancing Diversity in the Pittsburgh Legal Community June 12

The institute is geared to leaders in the local legal community
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-National and local experts will gather at the University of Pittsburgh to explore the challenges of recruiting and maintaining diversity in the legal profession during a one-day institute titled Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Law Students and Lawyers of Color in the Pittsburgh Region. The event, sponsored by Pitt's School of Law and Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP), will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. June 12 in the School of Social Work Conference Center, 2017 Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

Mary Crossley, Pitt School of Law dean, and Larry Davis, dean and Donald M. Henderson Professor in the School of Social Work and founder and director of CRSP, will provide background and introduce the framework for the institute. The program will focus on the bench, the practicing bar, and law schools, as well as on law schools' connections with the bench and bar via such opportunities as externships and mentoring and career-service programs.

The institute will be divided into three sessions: Challenges Facing the Legal Profession, from 9:20 to noon; Best Practices for Recruiting, Mentoring, Retention, and Promotion, from 1 to 3 p.m.; and Creative Ideas for Moving Forward, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Issues surrounding recruitment, mentoring, retention, and promotion of law students and lawyers of color will be explored at the morning session. Speakers are Peter Alexander, dean of Southern Illinois University School of Law; Arin Reeves, president of The Athens Group; and Eugene E. Harris, diversity coordinator for the Allegheny County Bar Association. A consultant on diversity issues in the legal profession, Reeves has led several comprehensive studies on diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Afternoon participants, who will share effective ways to address the challenges, are Helise Harrington, partner and director of diversity at Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal in New York; Cathy Bisson, director at Cohen and Grigsby in Pittsburgh; and Carl Cooper, consultant.

Pitt professor of law Sandra Jordan will moderate the final session, which will include short presentations followed by open discussion among participants to generate proposals for addressing the challenges in the Pittsburgh region. Presenters are Michelle I. Ritter, corporate counsel at PPG Industries; Marilin Martinez-Walker, associate at Thorp, Reed, and Armstrong; and Kevin Deasy, associate dean of students in Pitt's law school.

Registration is required for this free institute. A reception will follow the program. For more information, call 412-648-1401 or e-mail