Why do we need diversity?
Diversity in law brings diverse perspectives. As I read cases in my classes, I notice how laws and rulings impact a wide range of communities. However, the legal field does not reflect a diverse population. According to the American Bar Association, 2008 statistics show that only 34.4% of lawyers are women, 4.6% Black or African American, 2.9% Asian, and 3.8% Hispanic or Latinx. 86% are non-Hispanic white people. Further, in 2019, LGBTQ+ lawyers represented only 3% of all lawyers at firms that participated in a National Association for Law Placement report, and only 0.5% of lawyers identify as having a disability.
What do we mean by a diverse population?
Diversity means representation from a wide range of communities. However, representation is not enough. Systemic racism may be linked to the lack of diversity within the legal profession. It is embedded in various institutions within society and the legal profession is not excluded. Systemic racism exists when ideas of white supremacy operate in various levels of institutions. It is difficult to dismantle considering we are still speaking out against oppressive systems in society today. As diversity efforts in these institutional levels are pursued, it is important to understand that it is not isolated from civil rights movements. Rather, it should propel them forward by creating equitable access to the legal field.