CBA YLS Racial Justice Coalition

The Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers’ Section unequivocally stands against racial discrimination and police brutality. We also reaffirm our commitment to serving as a voice and as an instrument of change in our communities and beyond. In solidarity with everyone who has felt--and continues to feel--the frustrations of ongoing systemic and institutional racism, we establish the CBA YLS Racial Justice Coalition. As attorneys and leaders in the legal profession, we have a duty to unite and use our resources and power to promote unity and progress. Together, we are stronger.

Mission Statement

The CBA YLS Racial Justice Coalition was formed for the purpose of collaborating with leading forces in the Chicagoland legal community to take action against racial injustice in the following ways:
The Coalition will collaborate with other bar associations to identify and facilitate pro bono and community service opportunities that focus on combating racial disparities, addressing the concerns of minority groups, and building a bridge between the legal community and the clients that we serve.
Community Engagement
The Coalition will build and maintain relationships with community organizations and local government leaders that seek to promote social justice, uplift historically underprivileged voices, and impact collective action and legislation supporting the eradication of systemic racism.
The Coalition will encourage all bar associations to collaborate with us in providing training, seminars, speaker series, and workshops dedicated to understanding and championing diversity and inclusion throughout our profession and within our communities.

A Message from the Racial Justice Coalition on the Anniversary of George Floyd's Death

The streets of Chicago and beyond erupted in peaceful protests for months last summer after the murder of George Floyd at the hands Derek Chauvin, a police officer, on May 25, 2020. Americans faced a hard reckoning and were forced to take a critical look at race relations from the country's inception to the present day.

One year later, it is more important than ever before to look beyond history and continue to face the systemic and systematic racism that poisons our institutions.

Despite the hundreds of thousands of Americans who protested peacefully, the police still commit raids, violence, and killings against communities of color. Breanna Taylor, Jacob Blake, and Duante Wright are just a few of their names. It is important to not just remember but to also say their names.

The Chicago Bar Association’s Racial Justice Coalition was formed in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic murder. Its mission was, and is, to not only address issues around race, diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the legal profession and criminal justice system, but also address larger issues of systemic injustice and racial injustice. It also encourages all members of the legal community, no matter their background or experience, to make their voices heard. A little more than one year later, the Racial Justice Coalition continues to oppose the abuse of power everywhere and remains committed to working against any and all power imbalances and racial injustices.

We cannot and will not become complacent due to one conviction.

Upcoming CLE Seminars and Events

  • Flipping the Script: How Law Firms Can Meaningfully Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (6/4/21: CBA members register by clicking here.) 
    Year after year, reports have been published about the lack of diversity in the legal profession, particularly in large law firms. While many have bemoaned these statistics, some law firms and attorneys have taken ownership of the problem in order to find a solution. Even before 2020, these trailblazers developed unique programs and perspectives in order to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession, no matter the size of the law firm. Flip the script on typical conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion with the CBA YLS Racial Justice Coalition and learn how you and your law firm can make substantive change for all lawyers. 
    1) Carolyn Elefant, Founder and Owner, The Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant PLLC
    2)     Cam C. Hoang, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney LLP
    3)     Elaine Spector, Partner, Harrity & Harrity LLP 

    Moderator: Sarah Chowdhury, legal counsel for the Illinois State Comptroller

Past CLE Seminars and Events


CBA TV Interview: Introduction to the Racial Justice Coalition

Black History Month: Interview with Nyshana Sumner, President of the Cook County Bar Association

Black History Month: Interview with Mike Wilder, Chairman of the Black Men Lawyers' Association

Black History Month: Interview with CK Hoffler, President of the National Bar Association

Black History Month: Interview with Kenyatta Beverly, President of the Black Women Lawyers' Association

Coalition Members

The following bar associations and legal advocacy organizations who have joined the Coalition include:

  • American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
  • Appellate Lawyers Association (ALA)
  • Arab American Bar Association of Illinois (AABAR)
  • Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago (AABA)
  • Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, Inc. (BWLA)
  • Catholic Lawyers Guild
  • Chicago Bar Association (CBA)
  • Chicago Bar Association’s Alliance for Women
  • Chicago Bar Association’s Lawyers In the Classroom Program
  • Chicago Women in IP (ChiWIP)
  • Chinese American Bar Association (CABA)
  • Cook County Bar Association
  • Decalogue Society of Lawyers
  • Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois (HLAI)
  • Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA)
  • Illinois Association of Defense Counsel (IDC)
  • Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (IL ARDC)
  • Illinois State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ISBA-YLD)
  • Illinois State Bar Association Standing Committee on Racial & Ethnic Minorities and the Law
  • Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism (2Civility)
  • Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago (IPLAC)
  • Justinian Society of Lawyers (Justinians)
  • Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago (LAGBAC)
  • National Lawyers Guild (NLG)
  • North Suburban Bar Association (NSBA)
  • Serbian Bar Association
  • South Asian Bar Association (SABA)
  • South Suburban Bar Association (SSBA)
  • Southwest Bar Association (SWBA)
  • UIC John Marshall SBA
  • Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI)
  • Women’s Criminal Defense Bar Association (WCDBA)

RJC in the News

Get Involved

To get involved or with inquiries, please contact