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 seventh 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, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, background, geographical factors and law schools attended. To learn more about how to apply to the program download this description.

EXTENDED: applications for the 2017 program are due Dec. 21!

Download the application here. Keep reading below for more information!

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2017 Class Information

Program Schedule

The 2017 Diversity Leadership Institute program will begin with an opening retreat Jan. 13-14, 2017, in Nashville. Attendance is required but double occupancy hotel accommodations and mileage reimbursement will be provided for participants living outside of Nashville. At the retreat, participants will learn about mentoring opportunities, get to know fellow class members and be introduced to leadership and diversity concepts to be explored throughout the program.

During the six-month leadership program, participants will be required to establish a mentor relationship, 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 16-17, 2017, 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, service project and graduation ceremony June 16-17, 2017, during the TBA Annual Convention in Kingsport, Tennessee. Again, attendance is required but double occupancy hotel accommodations and mileage reimbursements will be provided.


  • 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. 13-14, 2017, in Nashville (Downtown Doubletree Hotel)
    * March 17-18, 2017, in Nashville (Downtown Doubletree Hotel)
    * June 16-17, 2017, in Kingsport (Marriot Meadowview Hotel)

Application Process

  • Applicants must submit the following documents as part of the application packet:

1. One (1) Application Form signed by the applicant.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 printed in the application
* Limit each essay to 200 words or less
* Use a separate sheet for each essay
* Restate the question at the beginning of the essay
* Be sure to put your name on each essay

3. One (1) copy of current resume.

Submission Process

  • The deadline for applying is 5 p.m. Central time on Dec. 16.
  • Applications should be submitted to TBA staff coordinator Katharine Heriges via email, fax or mail as follows:

    * By email to kheriges@tnbar.org
    * By fax to (615) 297-8058
    * By mail to Tennessee Bar Association, 221 4th Ave N, Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219

  • The Selection Committee will notify candidates of its decision by late-December.

Key Program Dates

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

December 16, 2016Student applications due
Late-DecemberSuccessful applicants notified of acceptance
January 13-14, 2017Opening Retreat in Nashville (mandatory)
March 17-18, 2017Meeting/Mock Trial Volunteering in Nashville (mandatory)
June 10, 2017All CLE and mentor requirements completed
June 16-17, 2017Final program, service project and graduation in Kingsport (mandatory)


dli_application-fillable-2017kh.pdf213.67 KB
dli_application_instructions-2017.pdf160.81 KB
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DLI Classes

DLI Class of 2015

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:

Amber Floyd, Chair
Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs
1715 Aaron Brenner Drive
Suite 800
Memphis, TN 38120

(901) 537-1054

John Rice, Vice Chair
Elmore, Stone & Caffey PLLC
5616 Kingston Pike, Suite 301
Knoxville, TN 37919
(865) 766-0056

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:

Judd Taback, Chair
Tennessee Division of Health Care Finance & Administration
310 Great Circle Road
Nashville, TN 37243

Angela Williams, Vice Chair
The Bureau of TennCare
18 Hamilton Station Crossing # 311
Lebanon, TN 37087