Diversity Law Institute

The Diversity Law Institute (DLI) is an international association of lawyers and law firms committed to diversity in all aspects of the legal profession and justice systems of the United States and Canada. Its purpose and mission is to advance the interests of women and minorities in the profession and to aid in the administration of justice where possible. Its membership exceeds 3,700 at this time. Members are from every U.S. state and the provinces of Canada, and also include representatives from Europe and Asia. More information about the DLI may be found at www.diversitylawinstitute.org.

The concept for the DLI originated in 2008 through Litigation Counsel of America (LCA) Executive Director G. Steven Henry, LCA Chief Operating Officer Dottie Henry, and LCA Fellows Charles Griffin (MS) and Rickey McKinney (AL).  The late Jock Smith (AL) of the Cochran Firm was a contributor to the concept beginning in 2009, along with then-LCA President Jack Williams (GA), of Jones Day, whose former firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP, sponsored the DLI’s first Diversity Summit in Atlanta. Since then, LCA Presidents Sharla Frost (TX), Ric Gass (WI) and Peter Perlman (KY) have helped in expanding the potential elements and influence of the DLI by broadening membership among minority-owned law firms across the U.S.  Official formation of the DLI as a separate association took place in 2011 and, respecting the efforts of other organizations engaging in diversity-based initiatives, thereafter the institute set its sights on focused initiatives deemed purposeful for growth and continuity, with development of additional pro-diversity objectives as its goal.

Membership in the DLI is open to all North American lawyers and law firms, in every area of practice, and is contemporaneous with LCA Fellowship. Law firm memberships, sponsorships and support are encouraged.

On November 3, 2017, Duane Morris will host the DLI’s third Diversity Summit in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Program Chair Sheryl Axelrod has put together a stellar line-up of speakers and presentations for the event. As with the DLI’s Diversity Summits in Atlanta and Chicago, speakers will present on a wide variety of candid topics that invite attendee exchanges. The Diversity Summit is designed to educate attendees on serious diversity issues in a manner that will stimulate participation and encourage change in meaningful ways in the profession. This year the DLI will designate winners of Diversity Law Institute Awards in a variety of categories for successes in their inclusion of women and minorities, as well as their efforts in furtherance of diversity in the profession. Awards will be presented at the Philadelphia Summit. Diversity Summit attendance is open to both DLI members and non-members. For more information, contact Julia Land at Julia.Land@nulllitcounsel.org

In 2011, the DLI began work on Law Suits for Justice, a program designed to provide criminal defendants with appropriate courtroom attire for purposes of reducing negative perceptions while on trial. For more information, contact Avery Henry at Avery.Henry@nulllitcounsel.org.

The DLI also coordinates with the Trial Law Institute (TLI) to create through member contributions an archive on jury demographics in jurisdictions throughout North America. For more information on the archive, contact G. Steven Henry at Steve.Henry@nulllitcounsel.org.

For information regarding membership in the DLI or sponsorship of the DLI, contact Avery Henry at Avery.Henry@nulllitcounsel.org.


DLI Advisory Board

Thomas A. Mesereau, Jr., Co-Chair
Mesereau Law Group, APC
Los Angeles, California

Sheryl L. Axelrod, Co-Chair
The Axelrod Firm, PC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Honorable Helen C. Adams
U.S. District Court Southern District of Iowa
Davenport, Iowa

Benny Agosto, Jr.
Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels,
Agosto & Aziz
Houston, Texas

Andrew Berger
Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP
New York, New York

Joseph C. Blanton, Jr.
Blanton, Rice, Nickell, Cozean & Collins, LLC
Sikeston, Missouri

Stacy A. Broman
Meagher & Geer, P.L.L.P.
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Ernest Calderón
Frazer Ryan Goldberg & Arnold LLP
Phoenix, Arizona

Bradfute W. Davenport, Jr. (Fellow Emeritus)
Troutman Sanders LLP
Richmond, Virginia

John S. Gibson
Crowell & Moring LLP
Irvine, California

Carol Gillam
The Gillam Law Firm, P.C.
Los Angeles, California

Heather S. Heidelbaugh
Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl, LLC
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Dottie M. Henry, COO
Litigation Counsel of America
Seaside, Florida

Michael HuYoung
Barnes & Diehl, P.C.
Richmond, Virginia

Sidney K. Kanazawa
McGuireWoods LLP
Los Angeles, California

Linda A. Klein
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell
& Berkowitz, PC
Atlanta, Georgia

Richard C. Kraus
Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC
Lansing, Michigan

Hector J. Lombana
Gamba, Lombana & Herrera
Coral Gables, Florida

John Burritt McArthur
Law Office of John Burritt McArthur
Berkeley, California

Steven W. Ouzts
Turner Padget Graham & Laney, P.A.
Columbia, South Carolina

Manny D. Pokotilow
Caesar Rivise, P.C.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Diane L. Polscer
Gordon & Polscer, L.L.C.
Portland, Oregon

Gregory M. Sato
Kobayashi Sugita & Goda, LLP
Honolulu, Hawaii

James G. Sawtelle
Sherman & Howard L.L.C.
Denver, Colorado

Larry D. Smith
Southern Trial Counsel, PLC
Orlando, Florida

Peyton N. Smith
McGuireWoods LLP
Austin, Texas

Benjamin J. Trichilo
McCandlish & Lillard
Fairfax, Virginia

Talitha Davies Wegner
Davies Wegner Law
Los Angeles, California


2018 TLI Forum

The Peaks Resort & Spa
March 22-25, 2018
Telluride, Colorado

Event Registration


20 Questions with Michael D. Ehrenstein

20 Questions with Michael D. Ehrenstein Read on


Thomas A. Mesereau Cup

Each year the LCA awards the Thomas A. Mesereau Cup to a deserving lawyer practicing in the area of criminal law. The award recognizes excellence and commitment at the highest level.

Read on

LCA Scene

2017 Fall Conference & Celebration of Fellows

2017 Fall Conference & Celebration of Fellows Read on