Press Releases

ACTEC Releases Video on Increasing Diversity in the Legal Profession


Contact: Pamela Goldsmith, 202-465-8270

Washington, DC – April 8, 2021: The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) Monday released its video on the importance of improving recruitment and retention of diverse attorneys in the trust and estates field and the law in general, How to Increase Diversity in the Legal Profession. The video is the College’s fifth in its monthly informational series – Planning for a Diverse and Equitable Future, a project of ACTEC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Committee, funded by The ACTEC Foundation. 

Recognizing the lack of diversity in the legal profession, ACTEC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Committee addresses the issue in this video by highlighting the history of wealth disparity in the United States and the increasing need for attorneys of diverse backgrounds. Though the number of female lawyers has increased to 37 percent over the last ten years, similar gains have not been realized among people of color in the legal profession. Only 5 percent of attorneys are Black, even though they make up 13 percent of the population. Another 5 percent of attorneys are Latinx, though they represent 18.5 percent of the population.

Vanesa Browne of Bessemer Trust, ACTEC Fellow Stephanie Perry of Pasternak & Fidis, and Kalimah White of TD Wealth Management, offer concrete steps for creating a pipeline program and improving recruitment and retention. They describe the difference between serving as a mentor and serving as a sponsor and the importance of both roles in the career of a diverse attorney. ACTEC Fellow Sarah Moore Johnson serves as the moderator for this forthright discussion.

“I am committed to serving as a mentor and sponsor for diverse attorneys in the trust and estates field,” said Terrence M. Franklin, Immediate Past Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Committee. “I was the first Black Fellow elected to ACTEC. I can attest to the importance of taking active steps to recruit and retain diverse attorneys into ACTEC, into the trust and estates field, and into the legal profession overall.”

For further information about the Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity series, please visit to Increase Diversity in the Legal Profession can also be shared via YouTube

About The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC): Established in 1949, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) is a national, nonprofit association of approximately 2,500 lawyers and law professors from throughout the United States and abroad. ACTEC members (Fellows) are peer-elected on the basis of professional reputation and expertise in the preparation of wills and trusts, estate planning, probate, trust administration and related practice areas. The College’s mission includes the improvement and reform of probate, trust and tax laws and procedures and professional practice standards. ACTEC frequently offers technical comments with regard to legislation and regulations but does not take positions on matters of policy or political objectives.

About The ACTEC Foundation:  The ACTEC Foundation is the philanthropic arm of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel or ACTEC. The Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) that offers education to families and professionals and supports students interested in the trust and estate area of the law. Through continued financial support, The ACTEC Foundation offers professional development, scholarships and education for a number of important efforts, including legal education, educational support, public initiatives, legal publications and the student editorial board.

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