15:45 PM

Three young lawyers elected to expanded YLS Council diversity seats

The Young Lawyers’ Section of The Missouri Bar is pleased to welcome three new diversity seat representatives. Tamar Hodges of St. Louis was elected by members of the section who practice in the state’s Eastern Appellate District to be their representative. In September, the YLS council voted to seat Amanda Johnson of Springfield as the Southern Appellate District representative and Matt DePaz of Kansas City to represent the Western Appellate District, both of which are newly created seats.

The YLS Council originally had a single diversity seat which was created as a pilot program to encourage diverse representation on the council. The single seat rotated between the different appellate districts. Lauren Collins, the 2020-21 Chair of the YLS Council, said it became quickly apparent that the perspectives gained through a diversity seat were of great value, but needed to be expanded to be truly effective as a mechanism to promote new ideas and projects that would be truly representative of the bar's diverse membership.

“The expansion of the diversity seats will lead to broader goals within the group and even better ideas to ensure that everyone has not only a seat at the table, but also a voice in the future of the profession,” Collins said.

Collins added the commitment of the YLS Council to the increase in retention of diverse lawyers in the profession parallels a similar goal held by The Missouri Bar Board of Governors.

The YLS Council voted in May of this year to change their bylaws and expand the seats to all three appellate districts, mirroring the format currently followed by The Missouri Bar Board of Governors.The Board of Governors also endorsed the expansion presented by the council.

The Southern and Western Appellate District seats, Amanda Johnson and Matt will serve until September of 2021 at which time they will be eligible to run for a full two year term. Tamar Hodges of the Eastern Appellate District will serve a full, two-year term.