Author: Devorah Spigelman
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The legal field is one of the most fast-paced industries. As the world changes rapidly and becomes more automated than ever before, what was fast yesterday is slow today, and lawyers are at the forefront of this change, required to constantly adapt and improve to keep up. We excel at embracing and implementing new legislation, and we have proven successful at adapting to new technology and acclimating to new environments. However, despite all these advances, there is one area where the legal industry is slow to accept change, and that is the acceptance of the “other” as full-fledged, respected members of the legal community.
Years after legal segregation ended, African Americans still faced great difficulty and encountered many obstacles when entering law schools and the legal profession, and even today, when African American people are the largest racial minority in the United States, the American Bar Association (“ABA”) reports that only 4.7% of all lawyers were African American in 2021. African Americans are continuously more underrepresented in the legal profession than in nearly any other profession, and as result of this underrepresentation, racism, discrimination, and bias toward African American lawyers are still perpetuated today.
II. THE VALUE OF DIVERSITY IN LAW
Much ink has been spilled over the ways in which to increase diversity and there has been a crying out about the urgency for diversification of the legal field, but a crucial predecessor to implementing diversification is understanding why diversity is so important. What does society stand to gain from a more diverse playing field?