How do legal professionals discuss race and social justice in these trying times? The answer is to listen to those with experience and those affected.
Law Practice Today interviews four legal industry thought leaders, including Calibrate Legal CEO, Jennifer Johnson, concerning how we in the legal sector can start to change the conversation about race, within the profession and beyond.
“The legal profession does not encompass lawyers only—many others play important roles in the business of a firm. Law firms are spending tremendous amounts of money to address diversity, but 50% of their workforce is not being taken into consideration on this front. The other 50% are noticing, and it will eventually affect your recruiting efforts negatively.
“Clients are starting to notice the focus being just on lawyers, and they’re going to start prioritizing the need for their law firms to embrace inclusive, enterprise-wide diversity in 2021. Your diverse lawyers also will notice the lack of diversity [in] the staff more and more as they return to the four walls of the office.
“Why wouldn’t you build an organization that emulates the world we live in? You can donate all the hours or money in the world, but if it doesn’t reflect what happens within your own four walls, it’s hollow.
“This issue can’t be handled from the side of your desk. It’s a new discipline for law firms, and the talent pool of D&I expertise is shallow in legal. We have to look to other industries that have been doing it longer. Look to the Big Four and the F500.
“Build a law firm that emulates the good you want to see in this world. The first law firm that truly figures this out is going to be the place where everyone wants to work. But it can’t be focused on lawyers only. If you want to fight racial injustice, look inward and start by being inclusive. Fix that first.”