The Benefits of Diversity in the Legal Profession

Angelica Cesario | June 23, 2020

The nation’s demographics are changing rapidly and becoming increasingly diverse, and it’s important that the legal profession begin to reflect these changes - and especially crucial that we avoid the "diversity recession" that followed the 2008 crash. Studies have shown that increased diversity also benefits the legal profession tremendously. Just what are some of those benefits?

1. Diversity brings more clients and spurs economic growth.

When law firms reflect the diverse reality of the world at large, they are able to acquire a larger pool of clients. Firms with bilingual attorneys are even more at an advantage, enabling them to acquire clients from different cultures and countries. Clients from different backgrounds will find the firm relatable and be more confident in the firm’s ability to represent their diverse interests. A larger client base results in a better bottom line and spurs economic growth for the firm overall.

2. Diversity leads to increased innovation.

A legal team with individuals from diverse backgrounds and perspectives leads to improved problem-solving skills. A range of opinions and experiences in the room spurs intellectual debate when devising legal strategies, and ultimately results in new and innovative ideas. Having different perspectives in the room also results in increased critical thinking and advocacy skills, requiring attorneys to think through their ideas and how to support them more carefully.

3. Diverse legal teams are more successful.

Obtaining and sustaining a diverse legal workforce means employers must widen the pool of qualified candidates. In turn, employers can be assured that they are hiring the most qualified candidates for the positions they’re filling, leading to higher-quality work and more successful legal outcomes.

4. Increased diversity results in happier employees and higher retention rates.

Attorneys at firms with higher diversity rates report being happier in their jobs. Attorneys of color and other minority groups are less likely to be isolated - rather, they will feel more like a member of their community and enjoy greater camaraderie with their colleagues. This sense of belonging results in higher productivity and increased retention rates.

To learn more about improving diversity and challenging bias, check out Strategies to Improve Diversity and Interrupt Implicit Bias in the Legal Profession, and for an examination of how in-house counsel can support these efforts, check out the upcoming webcast Making a Difference: How In-House Counsel Can Eliminate Bias and Promote Equity in the Legal Profession.

This article was originally published on February 26, 2019.

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About the Author

Written by Angelica Cesario

Angelica Cesario is Lawline's Director of Attorney Education & Development. She graduated cum laude from Amherst College in 2008 and holds a B.A. in Women's and Gender Studies and a Certificate in Latino and Latin American Studies. She received her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2013 and is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey. Before joining Lawline, Angelica worked as a plaintiff-side labor & employment litigation attorney.


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