The NACTT has not been alone in the past two years in its creation of a committee with a mission aimed at overcoming racism and bias and encouraging inclusion and acceptance. Practically every national bankruptcy organization in the country has been working on parallel tracks toward those goals. Given that fact, it is not surprising that all these organizations, including the NACTT, have joined forces this year to form a new consortium- an association aimed at harnessing and coordinating the resources of all these national organizations to maximize their impact and integrate their efforts. The Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility Consortium – A Major New Development in the Bankruptcy World is currently comprised of the following organizations: the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI); American Bar Association (Business Bankruptcy Committee of the Business Law Section) (ABA); American College of Bankruptcy (ACB); Executive Office of the United States Trustee (EOUST); National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees (NABT); National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees (NACTT); National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA); National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (NCBJ). In addition to the above current members, the Association of Chapter 12 Trustees has also recently voted to join the Consortium.
While the Consortium is still in the organizational phase, it has already had numerous meetings, is well into the process of creating its organizational structure and is working to develop a website. A primary goal of the Consortium, in working to increase the diversity of the national bankruptcy bar and bench, is to provide resources to students who may be interested in learning about and considering entering the field of bankruptcy work. A main key to doing this is by supporting internship programs of the member organizations (such as the Tom Vaughn Memorial Internship Program of the NACTT). The Consortium envisions being an integrated source of information for students about the bankruptcy field including what internship programs are available as well as other career opportunities. The Consortium’s website is expected to act as a resource hub, tying together the educational and training resources of all the member organizations. In this way, a law student, for example, could use the website to search what opportunities might be available to intern for a trustee, a judge or with a law firm. The website could also be a source for training materials and articles about how firms, trustee offices or the courts can work toward the goals of greater inclusion, acceptance and diversity. Beyond the sharing of resources and internships, the consortium could also pay a key role in funding scholarships and advancing the discussion among its member organizations of how each can contribute to a more diverse and inclusive atmosphere in bankruptcy practice.
The NACTT representatives in the Consortium include Pamela Simmons-Beasley, Greg Burrell and Jan Sensenich. The NACTT can take great pride in the fact that in May of this year our own Pamela Simmons-Beasley was nominated for and accepted the position of Vice Chair of the Consortium. Given the number of prestigious organizations that make up the Consortium, being asked to be Vice Chair is indeed an honor. However, those who have worked with Pam are not surprised at this development and know that her leadership will no doubt help the Consortium live up to its mission.
-Jan M. Sensenich