1. Prof. Elizabeth Chambliss, Miles to Go:
Progress of Minorities in the Profession
(ABA Report), available at www.fedbar.org/
2. Id. The term “minority” typically is used
to refer to aggregated data about African
Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics,
and Native Americans, although there are
variations from source to source. Unless
otherwise noted, we follow the categories
used in the original source and provide
definitions in the footnotes.
3. Chambliss, supra note 1.
reporting%20form.pdf. The Board of
Governors is the board responsible for
policy and oversight of State Bar
Since graduation from BLI,
Maggie has transitioned from
working in a firm to the new
challenge of in-house counsel.
She is currently establishing
Lovitt and Touché’s first cor-
porate legal department. Mov-
ing in-house “was a bigger
plan of mine, but the BLI cer-
tainly added to my motivation
to make the change.” She also
continues her work with the
State Bar’s Labor and Employ-
ment Section and volunteers
for Wills for Heroes.
She says that the BLI is promoting diversity by focusing
on it and giving all of its participants the
tools to effect change.
“It is not enough to just have a policy of
diversity, there needs to be more. There
needs to be action and leadership to make
change through goals and a focus on equality.” Maggie hopes that the tools that BLI
shares with its participants will help leaders
make constructive changes for the future.
Rekha Nair, 2016
Rekha became involved with the BLI after
moving back to Arizona in 2014 to provide
free immigration legal services. Working in
rural Florence, she wanted to connect with
attorneys in various practice areas to better
assist her clients.
“We can’t do our work as an island,” she
says, “because our clients often have issues
that run the gamut.”
To her, the BLI seemed like the obvious
choice. It was a relaxed environment that
fostered everything from professional devel-
opment and thought-provoking discussions
with colleagues to friendly competition over
the ethics rules and teambuilding activities.
Criminal defense had always been an in-
terest of Rekha’s, but it was not until the
BLI that she realized her next career move.
After meeting Jon Sands, the Federal Defen-
der for Arizona, at the Selection Committee
mixer, and learning more about the posi-
tion from her Federal Defender classmates,
Rekha decided to make the jump. She now
works with four contacts made at the BLI.
Rekha also continues her efforts to sup-
Marcos Tapia, 2017
port the BLI goals of diversity and inclu-
sion through board membership with Trans
Queer Pueblo, the Collective-Phoenix, and
the Phoenix Legal Action Network. In ad-
dition, Rekha now serves on the Bar’s Legal
Services Committee. She explains that “BLI
is great because it gives people in the pro-
gram a clear path to more actively participate
in the Bar through its service requirement.
In that way it promotes diverse participation
in the Bar committees. I would never have
known about the committees or how to be-
come a member without the BLI.”
She adds, “I also now read Bar emails
Marcos was encouraged to apply for the BLI
by past program graduates, many of whom
he holds in high regard. While still in the
class, he has expanded his network and
gained confidence in pursuing goals as a
leader within the legal community. He already has encouraged others to apply for the
program in the future.
Marcos has been presented an opportu-
nity to use his newfound leadership skills,
as he was recently elected to serve on the
Board of Directors of Los Abogados. He is
also co-chairing the Los Abogados Gala this
Marcos believes there is still work needed
in terms of leadership diversity. Among the
areas where improvements are needed, he
points out the lack of representation in the
larger firms. Marcos feels hopeful because of
those in the BLI program, and he looks forward to being part of the solution.
BLI Turns 10