Why “One Size Fits All” Efforts Fail: Tackling the Biases That Still Frustrate Meaningful Racial and Ethnic Diversity and Inclusion- A03

Diversity and Inclusion Track
Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Session A: 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

About the Program
Despite the countless efforts, new initiatives, and significant energy focused on achieving meaningful racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion within our profession, there is still much progress to be made. As we obtain and study available data on our profession, particularly in the areas of retention, mentorship, professional development, and advancement to leadership, we have come to understand that racially and ethnically diverse individuals face different challenges in the legal profession. These differing challenges are often the manifestation of stereotypes and biases about people of a certain race or ethnic background. While those biases may be implicitly held, they are explicitly felt by those who experience them as barriers to growth and success in the law.

This program will be focused on strategies for achieving meaningful racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion within your organization, as we move beyond overarching discussions of implicit bias towards a more specific understanding of the challenges facing different racial and ethnic groups within our profession.

You Will Learn

  • Prevailing racial and ethnic stereotypes and biases within a historical and cultural context
  • How stereotypes and biases operate to keep racially and ethnically diverse individuals from succeeding in our profession
  • Effective strategies for disrupting those hindrances to your organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion


Michelle L. Querijero, Allied World Insurance Company, Farmington

Michelle Querijero is a Senior Claims Analyst at Allied World Insurance Company. Ms. Querijero is a member of the CBA House of Delegates, the CBA Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and is an officer and director of the Connecticut Asian Pacific American Bar Association.  

Ms. Querijero is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law. Following graduation, she clerked for the Honorable Justice Joette Katz of the Connecticut Supreme Court.  Prior to her law career, Ms. Querijero was an aerospace engineer for ten years and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Aerospace Engineering Sciences program.


Neeta M. Vatti, Quinnipiac University School of Law, Hamden

Attorney Vatti is the Assistant Director of Professional and Career Development at Quinnipiac University School of Law. Ms. Vatti also practices as a civil litigator with the law firm of Deakin Vatti & Clark, LLP in Woodbridge. Ms. Vatti is a member of the CBA Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the CBA Diversity & Inclusion Summit Committee, the South Asian Bar Association of CT and NALP.  





Justice Maria A. Kahn, Connecticut Supreme Court, Hartford

Justice Maria Araujo Kahn was born in Angola, Africa. She emigrated to the United States at ten years of age and is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish. She graduated from New York University cum laude with a B.A. in politics in  1986 and earned her Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law in 1989. Justice Kahn was the first recipient of the Noreen E. McNamara Scholarship at Fordham University School of Law. Following law school, she served as law clerk to the Honorable Peter C. Dorsey, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Connecticut. She is a member of the United States Supreme Court, United States Federal District Court for the District of Connecticut, United States Court of Appeals Second Circuit, and the Connecticut and New York State Bars. 

Governor Dannel P. Malloy nominated Justice Kahn to the Supreme Court on October 4, 2017 and she was sworn in on November 1, 2017. Prior to this appointment, Justice Kahn served as a judge of the Appellate Court and as a judge of the Superior Court, where she primarily heard criminal matters. 

Before becoming a judge, Justice Kahn was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in New Haven. As a federal prosecutor, Justice Kahn was responsible for complex white collar investigations and prosecutions, both civil and criminal, in the areas of health care fraud, bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud and trade secrets. Justice Kahn has been honored on several occasions with awards including: the Department of Justice Special Achievement Awards in 1998 to 2006, and the Department of Health and Human Services, OIG, Integrity Awards. On November 3, 2017, the Portuguese Bar Association presented Justice Kahn with the “Americo Ventura Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Justice Kahn is co-chair of the Judicial Branch’s Access to Justice Commission and the Limited English Proficiency Committee. She was also a member of the Judges’ Education Committee and has taught several courses at the Connecticut Judges’ Institute. Justice Kahn is a James W. Cooper Fellow with the Connecticut Bar Foundation.

Karen DeMeola, UConn School of Law, Hartford

Attorney DeMeola currently serves as Assistant Dean for Enrollment and Students at UConn School of Law and is the current president of the Connecticut Bar Association. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from UConn and her J.D. from UConn Law. After graduation from law school, Karen was a civil rights litigator whose practice focused primarily on employment discrimination, police brutality and housing discrimination. While at UConn Law, she has been an adjunct professor teaching Critical Identity Theory and has presented on numerous panels, symposia and conferences on diversifying law school populations, implicit bias, intersectionality, leadership, and diversity and inclusion. Karen has also created numerous pipeline projects, including the CBA Pathways to Legal Careers Pipeline. Karen is a Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation. 

Karen was the recipient of the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity Edwin Archer Randolph Diversity Award; the CWEALF Maria Miller Stewart Award; the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities Constance Baker Motley Award for Business and Law; and the University of Connecticut Spirit Award.

Fred Lee, UConn, Storrs

Fred Lee received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles. He works across the fields of continental political theory, comparative ethnic studies, and American political development.

His current book project is The Racial Politics of the Extraordinary: Four Events in the Informal Constitution of the United States. Its aim is to expansively conceptualize “the U.S. constitution” as an ongoing project of racial formation, one that has been repeatedly reshaped by extraordinary events—including 1830s-1840s Southeastern Amerindian removals, the Japanese internment, the civil rights movement, and 1960s-1970s racial empowerment movements.  In other writings, Lee has engaged questions of historical memory, cultural politics, and gender/sexuality.

James G. Leipold, National Association for Law Placement, Washington, DC

Attorney Leipold has been the executive director of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) since 2004. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Brown University and Temple University—James E. Beasle y School of Law. Prior to joining NALP, he worked at the Law School Admission Council and, prior to that, was the director of admission at Temple University—James E. Beasley School of Law, where he was also an instructor in legal writing and research.  Prior to law school he taught high school in rural Alaska and in suburban Michigan.  He is currently one of the leading experts on the entry level legal employment market and speaks and writes frequently on trends in legal employment for recent law school graduates. 



Asker A. Saeed, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP, New York, NY

Attorney Saeed is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at international law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, where he is based in New York City and leads the firm’s global diversity and inclusion initiative. Prior to joining Fried Frank, he was the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Day Pitney LLP. Prior to becoming a full time diversity professional, Mr. Saeed practiced law for 10 years at large Hartford, Connecticut based law firms and at United Technologies Corporation, and served as Vice President Customer Business, Commercial at International Aero Engines.

He is a longtime and frequent speaker on diversity and inclusion and career development issues and has been an active leader in various minority bar associations, including serving as President of the South Asian Bar Association of Connecticut (SABAC) and on the Executive Committee of the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA North America).


2.0 CLE Credit (CT: 2.0 Ethics; NY: 2.0 D&I)