NAPABA and Florida Affiliates’ Statement in Response to Florida Supreme Court’s Ruling Against Diversity and Inclusion Requirements in Continuing Legal Education

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), together with the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Tampa Bay (APABA-TB), the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of South Florida (APABA-SF), the Greater Orlando Asian American Bar Association (GOAABA), and the Jacksonville Asian American Bar Association (JAABA) (collectively, the “Florida Affiliates”) express their strong disappointment with the Florida Supreme Court’s decision reaffirming its own ban on Florida lawyers receiving credit for continuing legal education (CLE) courses that employ certain diversity requirements on their panels. In June, NAPABA and the Florida Affiliates filed comments before the Florida Supreme Court urging the court to recognize that advancing diversity through these requirements fosters inclusivity, and does not exclude any viewpoint. Unfortunately, the court continued to mischaracterize these efforts as harmful and discriminatory. The diversity requirements championed by NAPABA, our Florida Affiliates, the American Bar Association, and dozens of other organizations are additive and not subtractive. They do not discriminate against any person or group, but rather they uplift voices long silenced. As we have noted previously, the stated goal of the policy was to eliminate bias, increase diversity, and implement tactics aimed at recruiting and retaining diverse attorneys.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of all backgrounds in the legal profession.