Get The Most Out Of Diversity Efforts

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Get The Most Out Of Diversity Efforts

It’s not a secret, all law firms understand that the legal industry has a diversity problem. There simply are not enough women and people of color getting hired to the most established law firms. In response to the lack of diversity, many well-meaning law firms have launched diversity initiatives. How do law firms get the most out of their diversity efforts?

  1. Make a public commitment. Tout your horn. Do not implement your diversity program quietly. Send a press release. Publicly declare yourdiversity efforts commitment to diversity and let your associates, staffers and the general public know about it. The firm should also publically support any non-profit or community efforts to increase the number of diverse attorneys in the field. This support can be monetary, moral, and via volunteer hours. Anything the firm can do (within financial and time limits) puts the proverbial money where your mouth is.
  2. Diversify power positions. Your partners need to reflect the diversity you want to achieve. It’ i a lot easier to change a law firm’s culture when 50 percent of your partners are women and people of color. Not only will you change your law firm’s diversity numbers, you will also attract the type of associates who want to work in a diverse workplace. the firm should have an ongoing plan for recruiting and promoting diverse candidates into partner positions.
  3. Change the culture. It’s one thing to hire more women and more people of color but it can be very difficult to retain them if the culture is bogged down with bias. If you want to attract and retain diverse, quality talent, you must change law firm culture so it is welcoming and accepting to all.  It is also important to understand that some people may resist embracing anyone who doesn’t fit the status quo. The firm will need to address these attitudes and biases head-on. It is late 2018 and is something that must be done consistently – meaning all – the –  time. One day diversity or inclusion workshops simply will work to transform the law firm culture. As they say, anything worth doing…

Talking diversity is all good, good, nice, nice, but you the firm has to make sure that it is doing everything it can to help feel the first few “diverse” associates and partners comfortable. Get the most out of your diversity efforts by approaching the issue from multiple angles and through sustained activities. Subscribe to the Leopard Blog for discussions about diversity, law firm insights, and other relevant topics.

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