Every month, Lawline recommends four podcast episodes lawyers should listen to on a variety of topics, from substantive legal issues to managing a law practice. To cap off Black History Month - and carry it forward through the rest of the year - check out the list below, featuring Black powerhouses of the legal profession:
1. The JustPod: Diversity and Inclusion
The JustPod is a podcast put out by the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association to cover current issues in criminal justice reform, policy, and more. In this episode, Judge Tracie Todd discusses the history of diversity and inclusion in the ABA, starting with its exclusionary practices in the early 20th century through its current policies and projects. In just one fascinating part of the conversation, she describes in detail how the inclusion of Black women in decision-making capacities in the ABA led to policy and legislative changes at the state and federal level.
2. A Conversation with CK Hoffler: Building a Legacy of Service to the Community
When the ABA was still excluding minorities from membership, the National Bar Association was formed to provide community and opportunities for primarily African-American attorneys and judges, and that mission continues today for a membership of nearly 70,000 legal professionals nationwide. In this podcast, host Winter Wheeler interviews current NBA president CK Hoffler about the reality of legal practice as a Black woman and a mother, and the role of the NBA in mobilizing attorneys to combat the three pandemics disproportionately impacting Black communities: COVID-19, voter suppression, and police brutality.
3. Black Lawyers in Major American Law Firms: How to Make More Progress
In this episode of Law Technology Now, Harvard Professor David Wilkins, author of Why Are There So Few Black Lawyers in Corporate Law Firms? talks about why it’s important for Big Law to model diversity and inclusion, and practical ways law firms can actually hire, retain, and promote Black attorneys. In the short term: focus on actually training, mentoring, and developing associates. In the long term: move racial justice and social justice to the center of a sustainability model for the legal profession - as Professor Wilkins asks, “how do we reinvent capitalism in a world on fire?”
4. Black Lawyers Speak: Stories of the Past, Hopes for the Future, Episode 5
Just as the major law firms have a large influence within the legal profession, the judiciary is the outward face of the legal profession, and a lack of diversity on the bench impacts public perception of the legal system as a whole. In this episode, the final in a five-part podcast series by Bloomberg Law, legal heavy hitters including former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Janai Nelson of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Professor Trina Jones, and former federal judge Stephen Robinson discuss the issue of diversity in the federal judiciary. Some of the highlights include a discussion of what it means for judges to bring their personal experience to their legal interpretations, the legacy of Trump’s judicial appointments, creating a pipeline to the judiciary from public defender’s offices, and Biden’s pledge to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court.