Diversity Leadership Institute

The Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division's Diversity Leadership Institute (DLI) is a six-month leadership and mentoring program for Tennessee law students in their second, third or fourth years of study. Now in its fifth year, the program is designed to:

  • Develop skills to succeed as a law student and attorney;
  • Empower students to contribute more to the legal community;
  • Match students to mentors in a diverse variety of practice areas; and
  • Build relationships among students of diverse backgrounds

Class size is limited to a total of 20 to 25 students selected from across the state. The goal of the program is to have a diverse class, so selection is based in part on race, ethnicity, gender, age, background, geographical factors and law schools attended. To learn more about the program download this one-page description.

The 2015 class has been selected. Applications for the 2016 program will be available in Fall 2015.

2015 Class Information

Program Schedule

The 2015 Diversity Leadership Institute program will begin with an opening retreat Jan. 9-10, 2015, in Nashville. Attendance is required but double occupancy hotel accommodations and mileage reimbursement will be provided for participants living outside of the Nashville area. At the retreat, participants will learn the identity of their mentors, get to know fellow class members and be introduced to leadership and diversity concepts that will be explored throughout the program.

During the six-month leadership program, participants will be required to meet with their mentor at least twice, complete one community service activity, and attend two continuing legal education seminars, at least one of which should focus on a topic related to diversity. To help participants meet these requirements — and network with practicing lawyers in their local area — class members will be invited to attend public service projects, educational seminars and membership events planned by the TBA YLD. Participants also are encouraged to get involved in activities sponsored by their local bar associations as a way to meet these requirements.

Class members also will meet during and participate in the State High School Mock Trial Competition March 27-28, 2015, in Nashville. Again, attendance is required but double occupancy hotel accommodations and mileage reimbursements will be provided for those who live outside the Nashville area. Students will serve as bailiffs during several trial rounds but also meet as a group for leadership programming.

The Institute will conclude with a final session and graduation ceremony June 19-20, 2015, during the TBA Annual Convention in Memphis. Attendance is required but double occupancy hotel accommodations and mileage reimbursements will be provided for those who live outside the Memphis area.


  • Applicants must be enrolled in a Tennessee law school, and must be in their second, third or fourth years of study.
  • Applicants must be available to attend three in-person meetings during the course of the six-month program:

    Jan. 9-10, 2015, in Nashville
    March 27-28, 2015 in Nashville
    June 19-20, 2015, in Memphis

Application Process

  • Applicants must submit the following:

    1. Application Form. This is a fill-able pdf form. Please make sure you are using the latest version of Adobe Reader to be able to save your data.

    2. Three (3) written essays (Select from 10 possible questions. Please limit each essay to 200 words or less. Use a separate sheet for each essay and restate the question at the beginning of the essay. Be sure to put name on each essay. Questions are printed in the application.)

    3. Copy of current resume

  • Applications should be submitted to TBA staff member Stacey Shrader Joslin by email to sshrader@tnbar.org, by fax to (615) 297-8058 or by mail to Tennessee Bar Association, 221 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219.
  • The deadline for applying is 5 p.m. Central time on Dec. 8, 2014 (deadline extended on Dec. 2)
  • The Selection Committee will notify candidates of its decision by Dec. 15, 2014.

Key Program Dates

The following timeline provides a summary of the program deadlines and other key dates for participating students:

Dec. 8 @ 5 p.m. CentralStudent applications due in the TBA office
Dec. 15Successful applicants notified of acceptance
Jan. 9-10, 2015Opening Retreat in Nashville (mandatory)
March 27-28, 2015Meeting/Mock Trial Volunteering (mandatory)
June 8, 2015All program requirements completed
June 19-20, 2015Final program, service project and graduation (mandatory)


dli_handout_2015.pdf302.32 KB
dli-application-2015.pdf390.83 KB
dli-instructions-2015.pdf136.54 KB

DLI Classes

DLI Class of 2014

DLI Class of 2013

DLI Class of 2012

DLI Class of 2011

Contact Us

Questions or comments about this program? Feel free to contact the TBA YLD's Diversity Committee leadership:

Ahsaki Baptist, Chair
Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs
1715 Aaron Brenner Drive
Suite 800
Memphis, TN 38120

(901) 537-1123

Ashley Holliday, Vice Chair
West Tennessee Legal Services Inc.
210 West Main Street
Jackson, TN 38301
(731) 426-1302

Questions or comments about other law school services? Visit the TBA's law student resource page or contact the TBA YLD's Law School Outreach Committee:

Nathan Shelby, Chair
Rainey Kizer Reviere & Bell PLC
105 S. Highland Avenue
PO Box 1147
Jackson, TN 38305
(731) 423-2414