NAWL Stands with NNABA and Calls for Inclusion of Native Americans in Studies of the Legal Profession
“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them” - Ida B. Wells
On June 26th, 2020, the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) wrote The Center for Women in Law and the NALP Foundation in critical response to the ‘exclusion of Native American Women Law Students from “Women in Color - Law School Experiences” Study’. The issues raised in NNABA’s letter have stirred the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) to reflect and take action. NAWL recognizes and acknowledges our own omission of Native American women in the legal profession in our annual NAWL Survey on the Promotion and Retention of Women in Law Firms that surveys AmLaw 200 firms. Although this omission was unintentional, NAWL recognizes that any exclusion of Native American women perpetuates a 500-year long history of inequity and marginalization. In bringing this truth to light, NAWL sincerely apologizes for the omission of Native American women in our own collection of data in the legal profession.
Of NAWL’s membership population, 0.3% have self-identified as Native American/American Indian and or Native Hawaiian. However, NAWL understands that this percentage point does not determine value and does not account for the ever-expanding, vibrant, and diverse pool of NAWL members who actively contribute to the legal profession and serve in NAWL’s leadership pipeline. We, as an organization based on empowerment, advocacy, and community, will work to better ensure the representation of Native American women and other underserved and underrepresented groups.
Our plan of action focuses on four issues for which NAWL will hold itself accountable:
- Increase outreach and support for Native American women law students.
- Actively include and empower Native leadership in our organization.
- Evolve our process of data collection to an equitable inclusion and representation of Native American women in the legal profession.
- Advocate and encourage active representation of Native American women across all of our organizational, corporate, and law firm partnerships.
In support and partnership with NNABA, NAWL plans to shift our focus and work to be more impactful and inclusive of Native American women in our on-going efforts to advance all women of color in the legal profession.
In Sincere Allyship,
The National Association of Women Lawyers