College of Law CLE
We Have to Talk: Navigating Challenging Conversations About Diversity
Friday, October 8
Noon - 1 p.m. (Central Time)
Having difficult conversations about diversity in the workplace can be challenging. Compared to a year ago, 82% of lawyers reported they had conversations with colleagues about racial justice more or much more often than years before. In this course, participants will learn how to approach these conversations head-on. Participants will engage in techniques to interrupt microaggressions and develop strategies that will help them navigate challenging conversations around culturally sensitive topics. Those outfitted with these skills can serve as a better ally while working to recognize and eliminate bias in the legal profession.
This course has been submitted for 1.0 hour of ILLINOIS Professional Responsibility (Diversity and Inclusion) CLE credit -- application pending approval.
Judge Debra B. Walker
Judge Debra Walker obtained her accounting degree from the University of Illinois and passed the CPA exam on her first attempt. After working as a CPA for a couple of years at McGladrey (n/k/a RSM), she returned to the University of Illinois to obtain her law degree. At the time of her election to the bench in 2008, Walker was a partner at Clausen Miller P.C., where she specialized in professional liability defense work. She is a Cook County Circuit Court Judge in Chicago.
Judge Walker has served the Illinois legal community as President of the Women's Bar Association of Illinois, the Illinois Bar Foundation, and the Illinois Judges Foundation. She is most proud of her nearly 20 years of service on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, including six years as Chair. Additionally, she has served on the Illinois Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission and as proxy to the Illinois Judicial Pension Board for the current and past two Chief Justices.
She is also quite active with her alma mater. Walker was the inaugural Chair of the University of Illinois College of Law Recent Alumni Advisory Board, has previously served on its Board of Visitors and its Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and now serves on its Dean’s Advisory Board. Additionally, Judge Walker is a fairly new member of the board of directors for the University of Illinois Moms Association.
Walker is a frequent speaker and panelist for bar associations, law firms, law schools, and judicial education organizations on professionalism topics, such as diversity, equity & inclusion, and incivility, bullying & harassment.
Kendra Abercrombie serves as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager for the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, where she promotes integrity, civility, and professionalism among the lawyers and judges of Illinois. In this role, Kendra leads the Commission’s educational and advocacy initiatives aimed at promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the legal and justice systems.
As DEI Manager, Kendra develops and delivers legal education on DEI and other professionalism topics to lawyers, judges, and law students, and performs outreach across the state on behalf of the Commission. She also supports the Commission’s lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program and manages its involvement in Jumpstart, a law school preparatory program for historically underrepresented law students.
Before joining the Commission, Kendra was Associate Director of Admissions and Diversity Recruitment and Assistant Director of Admissions and Diversity Initiatives at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law. Earlier in her career, Kendra was an Admissions Counselor and Recruiter at Arizona Summit Law School.
Kendra has served as an instructor of legal research and writing at the Indiana Conference for Legal Education Opportunity and an adjunct professor in economics at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, Indiana.
Kendra holds a JD from Arizona Summit Law School, an MBA from the Kogod School of Business at American University, and a BA from the University of Georgia. In April 2021, Kendra received the Dean Frank Motley Outstanding Faculty and Staff Award from Maurer’s Black Law Student Association.
Free but registration required. REGISTER HERE.
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