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A handful of ideas to increase the number of diverse lawyers at firms working for your law department

My consulting projects rarely address the heterogeneity of law firm lawyers. Other people passionately, tirelessly, and creatively push for diversity. So, I will merely note here five steps new to me but probably commonly known to some readers.

Set your primary firms a goal of more hours worked by diverse attorneys as a percentage of total hours during the coming 12 months. Perhaps 10 percent would be a starting expectation. More aggressively, set goals by level of partner, associate and paralegal.

Consider a “diversity deduction” from fees of a firm that fails to improve its diversity showing. This would certainly put teeth in the message and could fund other efforts, including bonuses for successful firms.

Set up a program where diverse lawyers at your department “mentor” a minority lawyer at a law firm.

Favor secondments of minority lawyers to your law department.

Require firms to designate a Minority Emphasis Partner to push this initiative from the their side and report periodically on their firm’s efforts and results.

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