Firm diversity coordinators

July 8, 2008
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Diversity. Law firms know it’s important yet sometimes hesitate to talk about or tackle it because the subject can be overwhelming. Our sister publication, the Indianapolis Business Journal, has an article in its July 7-13 issue regarding diversity managers and coordinators at companies. The article uses Indianapolis firm Baker & Daniels as a source, pointing out the firm hired a diversity coordinator one year ago. A quick glance at a few other firms’ Web sites show job titles with “diversity” in the name aren’t being handed out frequently, but that doesn’t mean the job duties of a diversity coordinator aren’t being performed by another position.

On the one hand, I wonder, is a diversity coordinator really necessary? Shouldn’t those higher up at the firms already know they should have a more inclusive office without having a diversity manager to tell them that? Isn’t it obvious that it would be beneficial to have people with differing backgrounds in various positions in your office and that diversity may make your firm more attractive to clients?

But after thinking about the typical Hoosier law firm, the argument could be made in favor of hiring a diversity coordinator. Even though firms have made strides during the past few decades to include more people of different cultures, genders, and abilities, there is still a long way to go to make Indiana firms more reflective of the talent pool of practicing lawyers and the general public. Having someone who works full- or part-time with the sole focus of expanding the diversity of the practice could allow more focus and better results than delegating those tasks to an executive or partner.

Are diversity coordinators a valued resource at a firm or an unnecessary position?
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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