Lawyers, judges and professors from around the country are in Louisville today to attend the state’s first ever conference on diversity in the court system.
The conference covers several issues, including minority representation on juries.
Several sessions in the conference also address minority representation in the legal profession. One way Kentucky is trying to diversify courts is the Kentucky Legal Education Opportunity, or KLEO program, which helps underrepresented populations go to law school.
Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Lambert says the program has been successful so far, but Kentucky’s demographics make diversity a challenge.
“The African-American population in Kentucky is only about 10 percent of our state’s population,” says Lambert. “So we don’t have the big percentages in terms of minority population like you have Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and some places.”
Justice Lambert helped start the KLEO program in 2003, when minorities made up less than 20% of Kentucky’s law students.