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Court diversity is a priority for Delaware Supreme Court Justice

Delaware Public Media

The Delaware Supreme Court is trying to improve diversity in the First State courts.

A recent Delaware Supreme Court report - “Improving Diversity in the Delaware Bench and Bar: Strategic Plan Report and Recommendations” tackled some of the issues in the state’s courts.

Chief Justice Collins Seitz made it a priority to deliver concrete recommendations to improve diversity to make Delaware’s court system look more like the people in the community.

Seitz made court diversity a priority when he was sworn in back in 2019, and the 101-page report by the Bench and Bar Committee issued 50 recommendations.

Justice Collins Seitz

"We don't have people coming up in the ranks of Delaware citizens becoming members of the bar who are diverse who can then pursue a career in the legal field. That's why this report is focused on the pipelines that might be created to encourage people to become lawyers and pursue a career in the law in Delaware."

Recommendations include considering an alternative to bar admission including adopting a Delaware Scholars Program as an alternate to the bar exam.

Other recommendations include considering producing bar study prep materials, and developing continuous education for all members of the bar on the judicial appointment process.

Seitz says the goal is to do a better job exposing Delaware citizens to the justice system, understanding there are great opportunities to pursue careers in law in Delaware and make sure there aren’t as many financial or structural barriers.

Other recommendations include direct mentorship opportunities between judicial officers and diverse members of the bar and students interested in a judicial career.

Seitz says they’re serious about these recommendations.

"There is going to be an implementation force set up by the Delaware Supreme Court to make sure that the 50 recommendations are considered seriously, and that as many as are approved are implemented as quickly as possible. We've also asked from the General Assembly to have a DEI officer approved for the judicial branch. The governor's recommended budget has included that position for us."

DEI stands for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator, and that person will spearhead efforts to carry out the strategic plan.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.