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Summra Shariff

2019 Diversity & Inclusion: Summra Shariff

Although she’s been the executive director and president of nonprofit professional association Twin Cities Diversity in Practice (TCDIP) for just a year and a half, Summra Shariff has been a champion for diversity and inclusion in the legal profession since law school.

After growing up in Los Angeles, she moved to the Twin Cities to attend the University of St. Thomas, and quickly noticed a lack of diversity in the local legal community.

“Our country is rapidly diversifying but our legal profession isn’t; that’s true here and across the nation,” she said. “We can make that shift, but first we have to acknowledge there’s a problem and look at the structural changes that need to happen to get more equity and equality.”

Since joining TCDIP, Shariff has had a significant impact, especially in increasing participation in key programs supporting the attraction and recruitment of diverse lawyers.

She’s worked to forge tighter relationships between local affinity bar associations and local law schools, and co-sponsored the Women of Color in the Law forum events.

Most recently, she’s launched the TCDIP Leadership Council, a forum for the managing partners and general counsel from member organizations to meet and discuss diversity and inclusion strategies that can foster change and strengthen diversity in the legal community.

“Diversity makes teams more creative. They work better together and create more profit for firms,” said Shariff. “I’m excited to do this work and find commonalities so we all thrive together. We need to be fearless about trying out new ideas.”

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