Legal Lens: Diversity and inclusion in the legal workplace

Legal Lens

The Brown & Crouppen Legal Lens takes a closer look at everyday legal issues and gives you a better understanding of topics that may affect you.

ST. LOUIS – We know it’s important to have and promote in diversity in any field but why is it important when it comes to the law?

“It’s important to make sure that everybody is represented,” Brown & Crouppen associate attorney Brandon Jackson said. “For example, when we think of reading laws, a diversity of viewpoints is important, for the public to see in the legal profession that looks like the public.”

At the moment, what’s on the books regarding this issue?

“The issue of law in talking about this is that we know it’s important like other professions,” Jackson said. “Serious issues going on with diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.”

Jackson said half of all law students are women but advancements are much harder to come by.

“…When it comes to making equity partner, only 17% of women actually make partner,” he said. “And only 10% of those women make it to managing partner.”

“When you think of attorneys of color, the numbers are even more bleak. Some studies show 3% of partners at large law firms have Black attorneys.”

What is the Missouri Bar Association doing, if anything, on the diversity and inclusion front?

“The first thing they established was a committee on diversity and a study on minority lawyers,” Jackson said. “That study finds attorneys of color and female attorneys of color in upwards of 70% are thinking of leaving the legal profession.”    

Jackson has two recommendations to increase diversity in the legal profession.

“Creating a pipeline for high school students and law students to develop mentors, with seasoned attorneys,” he said. “Statewide judicial clerk program. Clerks are young attorneys who work with judges but a mentor becomes vital in their career.”

Jackson has no doubt that as law firms take inventory of their firms and adjust, it won’t be long to make sure everyone is being treated equally.

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