Back in 2006, the State Bar of Arizona appointed a Diversity Task Force to examine ways that the Bar could make progress in the areas of diversity and inclusion. One of the results of that effort was the creation of a Diversity Department and the hiring of a dedicated diversity professional on staff.

Information on that history is here.

Elena Soto Nethers

This month, the Bar took another step in that evolution when it named a new diversity professional. (Former Diversity Director I. Godwin Otu retired from the Bar a few months ago.)

The Bar’s new Diversity and Outreach Advisor is Elena Nethers, and I will speak more with her in the coming months to hear about the Bar’s initiatives. In the meantime, here is a press release from the State Bar:


Contact: Rick DeBruhl, Chief Communications Officer

Phone: (602) 340-7335, Mobile: (602) 513-6385


State Bar Hires Diversity and Outreach Advisor

PHOENIX – Feb. 27, 2012 – The State Bar of Arizona, the State’s attorney regulation and consumer protection organization, is pleased to announce the appointment of Elena Soto Nethers to the position of Diversity and Outreach Advisor.

Soto Nethers, a licensed attorney in both Arizona and Nebraska, brings her background in law to the diversity position within the Bar’s Member Services Division. Her knowledge and understanding of diverse communities comes from her commitment to working closely with underserved individuals through the Volunteer Lawyers Program and the tutoring sessions she offers children at St. Matthew Catholic School. Soto Nethers returns to the workforce from her full-time role as a public servant.

“The State Bar is extremely pleased to have added Elena to the State Bar’s membership services team. We will maximize both her legal experience and community advocacy to help bridge the Bar’s diversity initiatives with members of the profession and the community-at-large,” said Lisa Deane, Chief Member Services Officer. “Her unique experience brings the perfect blend of professional and personal experience that will meet and exceed the Bar’s diversity programs’ needs,” she added.

Soto Nethers, a daughter of Cuban immigrants, recalls facing adversity herself at an early age while growing up in a Midwestern town as one of two Hispanics in most of the academic institutions she attended. “I owe my success to those individuals that reinforced my aspirations and helped me to overcome injustices that came my way. I hope to use my position at the Bar to help individuals who face similar experiences,” she says.

Soto Nethers will oversee the Bar’s current diversity programs and initiatives, as well as help to develop, implement, and manage new ones that align with its strategic plan.

About the State Bar

The State Bar of Arizona is a non-profit organization that operates under the supervision of the Arizona Supreme Court. The Bar includes approximately 16,775 active attorneys and provides education and development programs for the legal profession and the public. Since 1933 the Bar and its members have been committed to serving the public by making sure the voices of all people in Arizona are heard in our justice system.