YLD looks to pair lawyers with diverse law students
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The ISBA YLD Diversity Committee is seeking lawyer-mentors to connect with diverse law students in Iowa, as part of its Varietas Diversity Mentoring Program, in order to continue to build and strengthen the diversity of the legal profession.

Varietas, which means diversity in Latin, is a mentorship program between law students at Drake University and the University of Iowa and local attorneys and judges with the goal of diversifying Iowa’s legal community. Varietas will target students and mentors from groups that are underrepresented in the legal profession who are committed to diversifying Iowa’s legal community. The program will allow students to select their mentors from a pool of volunteers based on factors important to the student–mentee. The YLD Diversity Committee will host at least one event at each university for the mentors and mentees to meet and network with other lawyers in Iowa who are also committed to diversity in the legal profession. The committee will incorporate professional development activities and workshops into event programs that will focus on how to improve diversity in the legal profession and give law students the opportunity to meet mentors. The programs will provide lawyers with continuing legal education credit.

The purpose of Varietas is to forge strong ties between law students from underrepresented groups in the legal profession and Iowa employers in order to create career opportunities for law students. Ultimately, the Committee hopes the relationships formed between the mentors and mentees will encourage underrepresented law students to seek employment opportunities in Iowa, which will broaden the diversity of the Iowa Bar. The program will also provide attorney–mentors the opportunity to receive education and training on the importance of having a diverse Bar, and encourage law schools to prioritize diversity in the legal profession by assisting the committee in developing a series of professional development workshops for lawyers and law students from underrepresented groups, such as "crash courses” on how to survive and thrive at work, developing resumes, and interview coaching.

The Varietas program is also a part of the American Bar Association’s Next Steps Diversity Challenge, which aims to increase diversity in the pipeline to the legal profession. Those with questions or interest in participating as a mentor to a law student as part of the YLD’s Varietas program are invited to contact Maggie White at mwhite@legrantlaw.com.