alt Lake City Attorney Margaret Plane has been appointed to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI), where she will work with fellow commissioners to secure equal treatment for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity in the ABA, the legal profession, and the justice system.
“I feel very strongly about promoting diversity and equality in the legal profession,” Margaret said. “This is exactly the kind of work I love to do.”
Margaret is already actively involved in the ABA as the State Delegate for Utah to the association’s House of Delegates. Each state sends one delegate to the House, the ABA’s policy-making body.
“Margaret’s long-time commitment to civil rights and inclusion for all make her a perfect appointee for the SOGI Commission,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “We have made progress in protecting and promoting the legal rights of LGBTQ people, but there is much more to do. Margaret will help lead important discussions and set policy that impacts the justice system in Salt Lake City and the nation.”
Margaret previously served on the ABA’s Commission on Disability Rights. The SOGI Commission is made up of 13 commissioners and one chairperson. The panel’s membership includes LGBTQ and heterosexual representatives of the U.S. legal profession. SOGI has operated within the ABA since 2007.
Topics of discussion and policy will be up to the entire commission, Margaret said, but she recently appeared before a committee of the Utah Supreme Court to offer support for adding a new section to the ABA’s Model Rule of Professional Conduct. The new rule would state that any harassment or discrimination in the practice of law, including against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, would be grounds for an attorney’s professional misconduct.
This is the third time since 1994 the ABA will consider adding the anti-discrimination and harassment wording to its professional conduct rules.
“It’s critical the ABA leadership continue to reflect the full and equal participation of its diverse membership and that all members know they are welcome and their needs are being met by the association,” Margaret said.
As Salt Lake City Attorney, Margaret advises the executive and legislative branches on all matters of city government. She oversees proper administration of the city’s legal affairs, including federal and state litigation involving civil rights, employment, and torts. Margaret previously served as legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Utah.