Three University of Tennessee College of Law students have been selected to participate in the Tennessee Bar Association’s Diversity Leadership Institute.
Third-year student Jenna Macnair, and second-year students Miranda Stoltz and Taylor Flake, will spend the next few months taking part in the leadership and mentoring program designed specifically for Tennessee students studying law.
Each year between 20 and 25 students are selected to participate in the six-month program that helps them build relationships with legal professionals and prepare for careers in the profession.
Students take part in leadership and diversity training, and networking workshops. They benefit from mock interviews and resume critiques with potential employers, and panel discussions with practicing lawyers.
Ahsaki Baptist, immediate past president of the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division, said it’s in the best interest of the legal profession to improve diversity. That’s one of the reasons the Diversity Leadership Institute was created.
“Besides just being the right thing to do, diversity in the demographics of the legal profession has been shown to lead to economic growth in law firms and brings innovative ideas to a profession that has suffered from homogeneous thought,” she said. “Discussions on diversity and inclusion have increased mindfulness and awareness on issues like implicit bias and foster social and cultural understanding.”
Macnair, Stoltz and Flake will have the opportunity to develop relationships with mentors who are selected geographically and paired with students according to their legal interests. The students will meet at least twice with their mentors to gain advice and insights into the profession.
Stoltz said she looks forward to learning some “tips and tricks to being successful.”
“I have already met so many wonderful people and had some fantastic networking opportunities through this program,” Stoltz said. “It is definitely worth the time and effort.”
Alumni of the Diversity Leadership Institute have gone on to become legal professionals and leaders in the bar and active members of the Tennessee Bar Association.