Building: Leadership Pipeline

Key Concepts 

• Build a more broad and diverse pool of leadership applicants.

• Be intentional about recruiting diverse members - it will not happen organically.

• Encourage diverse leaders to apply for openings through transparency, clarity and personal one-on-one, meaningful outreach.

• Avoid blast emails without meaningful personal outreach.


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Make leadership appointment process transparent, simple and encouraging to all section members

  • Create nominating committee and appointment procedures that are followed each year 
  • Use the word “apply” instead of “nominate” as it encourages a broader applicant pool and creates less confusion
  • Create a standardized application process 
  • Publish leadership and membership opportunities regularly throughout the year in all print publications such as The Colorado Lawyer and The DBA Docket 
  • Publish leadership opportunities regularly throughout the year in The Loop!, online communities, on social media and on applicable websites

Build a pool of diverse leadership candidates for your section’s leadership positions

  • Invite diverse section members to meetings, events, and microvolunteering opportunities - do this consistently and repeatedly as it takes more than one invitation
  • Use messaging similar to the language below when reaching out to your diverse members:

“We are reaching out to you because we haven’t before." 

“We are reaching out to you because our section wants more voices at table.” 

“We are reaching out to you because we haven’t engaged you before.”  

“There is a relationship between leadership, engaging in the bar or section and becoming a judge.”

"Your engagement in our section will help you build relationships, leadership skills, and engage in the broader legal community that can help you if you want to be a judge.” 

  • Identify your diverse section members annually and invite them to engage with your section
  • Use the CBA’s Appointing Critical Talent NOW (ACTNOW) Initiative as part of the annual leadership appointment process by asking the diversity bars to inform their members of leadership opportunities
  • Use the CBA|DBA Joint Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Steering Committee leadership pipeline to identify potential diverse members and leadership candidates
  • Engage in meaningful personal, one-on-one outreach to diversity bar associations and other community stakeholders to invite diverse candidates to apply
  • Invite your diverse members to attend meetings through phone calls and personal invitations - effective outreach should not be limited to emails because the personal touch is key
  • Invite immediate past presidents of diversity bars to apply for leadership positions
  • Invite diverse law students to section meetings and events
  • Engage with the law schools by scheduling presentations and inviting law students to attend
  • Consider a scholarship/sponsorship for diverse law students to become members of your section, to help students attend section events, and to help students attend your section’s CLEs

Appoint diverse leaders to leadership openings

  • Ensure that your section council and committee chairs have diverse leaders
  • Ensure that your section’s rotation for the chairperson includes diverse leaders
  • Publicize and educate interested candidates on your section's governance and leadership appointment process
  • Create a buddy system/mentoring program to shepherd diverse members into the section and to keep your members engaged
  • Follow up with applicants who were not selected for a leadership position to encourage their continued engagement with the bars and to apply again
  • Use the CBA|DBA Joint Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Steering Committee leadership pipeline to identify potential diverse members and leadership candidates

Resources for Building a Leadership Pipeline