Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Diversity in Big Law Means More Than Gender - LAW

by  DANIELLA ISAACSON
Originally published: June 17, 2017
Publisher: Law.com 

It is no secret that diversity at Big Law remains painfully stagnant. But when we talk diversity, our focus more often than not is on gender, to the exclusion of minorities, people with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals, and veterans. Industry stakeholders, both clients and law firms, have perpetuated this, placing their primary focus when it comes to diversity on gender.

Why is this? A number of reasons jump to mind: 1) It is easier to measure female headcount, while candidates at their discretion indicate, LGBTQ, disability  or veteran status; 2)While the percentage of females in Big Law’s higher ranks is small, there are more females than any other diversity category, increasing the likelihood of implicit bias against other groups; and 3) Society continues to stigmatize these groups, causing candidates to be reluctant to identify themselves as part of that diversity class.

Take minorities, for instance. As seen in the graph below, the threat of implicit bias for minority groups is even higher than it is for women, due to their lack of representation.