The march toward diversity and inclusion in the legal profession in Oregon and the United States has been slow. Initially, the profession did not include women and people of color; this hampered our nation’s ability to ensure a fair and impartial system of justice. While the Oregon experience has, to a great extent, mirrored the national one, our own legal profession has made substantial progress, especially over the past 40 years. Nevertheless, there is more to be done. We must focus on continuing to advance diversity and inclusion within the profession to make our courts, the practice of law, and our system of justice stronger.
The timeline that follows presents a brief history of the progress toward diversity and inclusion, beginning with the early years of America’s establishment, the creation of a federal government, the founding of Oregon as the 33rd state, and the experience of Oregon’s diverse legal pioneers.