Updated: Nov. 13, 2023

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council

Under the delegated authority of the Washington Supreme Court and consistent with the WSBA mission, the Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council’s purpose is to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession and legal system.

To advance diversity, equity, and inclusion and address the problems of bias, systemic inequities and underrepresentation in the legal profession, the Council’s work includes but is not limited to:

  • Increasing and supporting members from underrepresented communities by developing and supporting diversity pipeline and mentorship programs and partnering with schools, students and members from underrepresented communities.
  • Developing diversity, equity, and inclusion educational content and programs for members, volunteers and members of the public.
  • Developing diversity, equity, and inclusion educational content and programs designed to offer members opportunities to learn, gain skills and fulfill the MCLE ethics requirement on the mitigation of bias.
  • Supporting and collaborating with the Minority Bar Associations to promote mutual goals to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession.
  • Promoting leadership opportunities in the WSBA, legal profession and legal system by engaging in outreach to underrepresented members and the public, promoting diversity in the judiciary, and recommending candidates for at-large governors on the WSBA Board of Governors.
  • Advising the Board of Governors on examining issues through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens and fulfilling its responsibilities outlined in General Rule 12.2(a)(6), WSBA Strategic Goals, the Race and Equity Justice Initiatives commitments, and approved resolutions concerning diversity, equity and inclusion.

The DEI Council is formerly known as the Diversity Committee. The change was approved by the Board of Governors in July 2022. The change of becoming a council broadens the membership and allows WSBA members with pro bono status and judicial status as well as law students, staff and faculty and members of the public. Read the DEI Council’s charter.

Examples of Our Work

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion CLEs: The Council works with the Equity and Justice staff to develop CLEs focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The CLEs are designed for a membership-wide audience and offered for free.
  • Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Bar News: The Council works with Bar News staff and the WSBA Editorial Advisory Committee to apply an equity focused lens for the Bar News magazine and develop content that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • WSBA At-Large Governor Position: Under the WSBA Bylaws, the DEI Council is charged with reviewing applications for the at-large governor position and then forwarding at least three candidates to be on the ballot for an election of all members eligible to vote. The candidates should have the experience and knowledge of the needs of those members whose membership is historically underrepresented in governance or who represent some of the diverse elements of Washington citizens. The purpose of the at-large governor position is to ensure that the Board of Governors will be a more diverse and representative body.
  • ARC Reception: The Council hosts an annual welcome reception for students in the Academic Resource Center (ARC) at Seattle University School of Law. SU Law recognized the importance of creating this admissions program to provide access to legal education and support for applicants from underrepresented communities. Applicants who have not been in an academic setting for a number of years; have been culturally, economically, or historically disadvantaged; have learning or physical disabilities; and have indicators that show the applicant can compete in law school are considered for this program.

FY 2024 Workgroups

In 2024, the DEI Council has two workgroups tasked with critical projects: 

  • Pathways Into the Profession: This workgroup considers how people from communities that are marginalized and underrepresented enter and stay in the legal profession with particular focus on diversity pipeline and mentorship programs. This year the subcommittee will convene a statewide summit to: Create connections between programs; Identify ways to coordinate people between different programs; Identify gaps in diversity pipeline programs across the state; Research, highlight, and expand support to nontraditional pathways into the profession; Consider ways to diversify and shift narratives about the profession to be more inclusive.
  • Membership Demographic Study: This workgroup is working to advise and assist with the 2023 membership demographic study.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Plan: This workgroup is tasked with developing an updated diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan for WSBA. This coincides with a membership demographic study about the composition and experiences within our membership. This group will assist with outreach to key groups and drafting an updated DEI Strategic Plan to present to WSBA’s Board of Governors in September 2024. 

Meeting Schedule

DEI Council meetings will be held the second Monday of each month. 

The meeting can be accessed here. Additional details are located below. 

Meeting ID: 867 7453 4623
Passcode: 812077
One tap mobile
+12532158782, (Tacoma)
+12532050468, (US)

If you have any questions related to DEI Council meetings, please email diversity@wsba.org

Meeting Minutes

Fiscal Year 2023

November 2022

December 2022

January 2023

February 2023

March 2023

April 2023

May 2023

June 2023

July 2023

August 2023

September 2023

Fiscal Year 2022

January 2022

February 2022

March 2022

April 2022

May 2022

June 2022

July 2022






Council Members


Noelle Chung

Viveca Burnette

Lillibel Douglas

Hon. Andrea Jarmon

WSBA Gov. Nam Nguyen

WSBA Gov. Tom Ahearne

WSBA Gov. Brent Williams-Ruth

Michael Rhodes

Miryam Gordon

SaNni Lemonidis

Maria Little

Sharon Sakamoto

Alec Stephens

Christopher Swaby

Council Co-chairs:

Raina Wagner

WSBA Gov. Sunitha Anjilvel


Staff Liaisons:

Diana Singleton, Chief Equity and Justice Officer

Saleena Salango, Equity and Justice Lead

Help advance WSBA's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession. Learn more about joining the WSBA DEI Council by emailing diversity@wsba.org.