As the United States continues to get more racially diverse, some business sectors are slower to diversify than others. And law, unfortunately, has historically been one of those sectors. While 28 percent of Americans identify as non-white, only 11.6 percent of Americans in the legal profession do so.
The good news is that that percentage is rising, over the long term. The recent recession halted the overall trend of increasing racial diversity among new law school graduates, but once the economy recovers, the trend likely will too.
Why should your law firm worry about racial diversity among your legal professionals? Because it inherently increases your potential markets.
Law is a trust-based relationship, and the more a client can identify with the person representing him or her, the greater the trust. Having a racially diverse staff, from paralegals up to partners, means that more potential clients are likely to identify with the people representing them.
Racial diversity can also mean the difference between keeping and losing a major account. In 2004, the famous statement “A Call to Action: Diversity in the Legal Profession” was published by the lead counsel for Sara Lee Corp.; it has since been signed by at least 90 general counsels of other corporations. The statement affirms that corporations can terminate relations with firms that aren’t sufficiently diverse, or diversifying.
That goes double for firms that are contractors for the federal government. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance has plenty of guidelines for establishing and following pro-diversity hiring practices.
If you know that your firm needs to increase its racial diversity, but you don’t know where to start looking for qualified legal professionals, contact us today. We can find the professionals you need, and you can hire them as contract, contingent or temp-to-hire workers to make sure they’re a good fit for your company. So you can get all of the rewards of a diverse staff while minimizing your hiring risk.
Written by: Catherine Cantieri