Meet David Masterman, Chair of the Diversity Conference

David Masterman (courtesy of Virginia State Bar)
  1. Tell us a little about yourself, where did you grow up and how you came to where you are today.

I was born in the Panhandle of Texas and grew up there, then in Falls Church, Virginia, and then back to Texas. My dad worked for a member of Congress and then for NBC News. Both parents were journalists. This led me to win 3rd place in sports writing for junior high newspapers in Amarillo one year.

After reaching the state finals in debate, I went on to college, graduating from Grinnell College, and then law school, graduating from UVA Law.  I worked briefly in “big law” and then found my way into family law through working with Joanne Alper, and then later Joe Condo.

Both of those individuals were committed to bar service throughout their careers.  Their commitment must have rubbed off on me.

  1. How did you come to the Diversity Conference?

Initially it came from an opportunity to participate in the Conference’s Mentor/Mentee program, in which law students are paired with practicing attorneys to experience the learning and comraderie offered at the Bar’s June annual meeting.

  1. What is your vision for the Diversity Conference for the year and long term?

This term, 2021-22, comes at an interesting time.  We’re hopefully putting COVID behind us.  But we’re also coming out of 2020, a year fraught with racial concerns that rose to the top of the news cycle.  The trick for any bar conference is to educate while avoiding taking any political positions.  I envision that we will continue to fulfill that mission, offering educational opportunities to lawyers and law students as we have in the past. Challenges remain, particularly with regard to in person events, and it looks like this fiscal year’s Annual Forum on Diversity will be postponed again. But longer term, building that forum will continue.

  1. Now that we have had a year plus with the new normal, how have you adjusted your daily routine to keep your mental health at its best?

Some would say I haven’t!  But the best answer is that I’m listening to my body more.  Amidst the craziness of the past 20 months, I’ve also pushed well into my 60s. Sometimes you just need to take a day for yourself.  The Bar’s new initiatives on lawyer wellness are no joke and have spotted a need that I hope is going to be sincerely addressed.

5) Where do you see the profession going in the D&I space in the next five years?

Man, this is a hard one.  One big challenge, hardly new, is to help lawyers understand and act upon the simple fact that a commitment to diversity and inclusion should not be linked to a political agenda, but rather is a human rights and decency matter that everyone can support.

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