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Legal profession lags in diversity as compared to other professions

Jennifer Nelson
December 11, 2013
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Minority employment in the legal profession has grown significantly slower as compared to certain medical and business professions, according to a study released by Microsoft Corp.

The computer software giant commissioned the study to compare the rates of diversity in comparable professions: accountants and auditors; financial managers; and physicians and surgeons. These professions have similar requirements as the legal community such as broad education or licensing requirements.
 
Between 2003 and 2012, the percentage of underrepresented minorities – African-Americans and Hispanics – who are attorneys grew only 0.8 percent. The percentage of underrepresented minorities who worked as financial managers grew nearly six percent from 2003 to 2012. The percentage of doctors, as well as auditors and accountants, also saw larger increases over that same nine-year period as compared to the lawyers.

The percentage of underrepresented minorities in each of these professions lags behind the national workforce. In 2012, people of color made up nearly one-third of the labor force. According to the study, the gap between diversity in the legal profession and diversity in the U.S. has worsened over the past nine years.

“Unless the legal profession makes faster progress, it will miss the dynamism and creativity that diversity brings to other fields. We risk failure in having a profession that is as diverse as the country we serve – a prerequisite for healthy legal service for a democracy,” said Brad Smith, general counsel & executive vice president, legal & corporate affairs at Microsoft.

The study questions why careers in medicine and business have less of a diversity gap than the law. It points out there are no national scholarships on the scale of the medical and business fields and license passage rates are significantly higher in the medical fields.

The study suggests that financial support should be provided to enable all students to adequately prepare for the bar exam, and that bar prep be part of the standard law school curriculums.

“While many law firms, in-house legal departments and others helpfully are increasing development, mentoring and growth opportunities for under-represented minorities, evidence shows that we continue to lose out on the chance to recruit many promising professionals before they begin their career,” Smith said. “For example, the only national study of bar passage rates (LSAC, 1998) revealed that more than 20 percent of African Americans and more than 10 percent of Hispanic/Latino law students never passed the bar, compared to less than 5 percent of white law students. If African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos passed the bar at the same rate as whites (96.7 percent), this would have the same impact as increasing the number of African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos in law school by 18 percent.”

Smith calls on states to publish pass-fail rates broken down by ethnic background of the test takers.

Microsoft also suggests making alternative degrees available that are more flexible than full-time programs, as well as expand admissions criteria that consider attributes and experiences in addition to test metrics.
 

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  • As the article says
    Seems pretty straightforward to me, and quite in keeping with tyranny, American style: "The invitation stated in no uncertain terms that white people could not attend. It instructed recipients with the right skin colors to reply seeking the highly confidential date and time of the happy hour. The email did have some advice for white recipients, though. “If you want to create space for white folks to meet and work on racism, white supremacy, and white privilege to better our campus community and yourselves, please feel free to do just that,” it read. Diversity and Equity Center staffer Karama Blackhorn, a multi-pierced woman with a long, thin braid, helped write the invitation. “That space is not for white people,” she told KING-TV. “That space is for people of color.” Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/12/taxpayer-funded-community-college-bans-white-people-from-staff-happy-hour/#ixzz2wQ06yQNA
  • keep movin snowflake
    Let's be honest what this phony word "diversity" means. It means "too many white guys." I wonder all you white guys that just see this and keep moving and never open your yaps to complain over this-- do you think that when you are out-voted, and out-gunned, and the big money is lined up against you, as surely is coming as your numbers dwindle, will anybody in the new "diverse" majority establish quotas for your or bother much to treat you fairly? Or will you have to keep paying and endless price for the oppression of yesteryears. Will the price keep on going up, the weaker and more chicken you get?
  • Quite the Diversity Officer
    So how many like this are pushing diversity politics in the Indiana judiciary and print journalism? http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/12/taxpayer-funded-community-college-bans-white-people-from-staff-happy-hour/2/
  • Diversify!
    We then maybe we just need to take things up a few notches to make diversity work as intended. Like this: http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/12/taxpayer-funded-community-college-bans-white-people-from-staff-happy-hour/

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    1. IF the Right to Vote is indeed a Right, then it is a RIGHT. That is the same for ALL eligible and properly registered voters. And this is, being able to cast one's vote - until the minute before the polls close in one's assigned precinct. NOT days before by absentee ballot, and NOT 9 miles from one's house (where it might be a burden to get to in time). I personally wait until the last minute to get in line. Because you never know what happens. THAT is my right, and that is Mr. Valenti's. If it is truly so horrible to let him on school grounds (exactly how many children are harmed by those required to register, on school grounds, on election day - seriously!), then move the polling place to a different location. For ALL voters in that precinct. Problem solved.

    2. "associates are becoming more mercenary. The path to partnership has become longer and more difficult so they are chasing short-term gains like high compensation." GOOD FOR THEM! HELL THERE OUGHT TO BE A UNION!

    3. Let's be honest. A glut of lawyers out there, because law schools have overproduced them. Law schools dont care, and big law loves it. So the firms can afford to underpay them. Typical capitalist situation. Wages have grown slowly for entry level lawyers the past 25 years it seems. Just like the rest of our economy. Might as well become a welder. Oh and the big money is mostly reserved for those who can log huge hours and will cut corners to get things handled. More capitalist joy. So the answer coming from the experts is to "capitalize" more competition from nonlawyers, and robots. ie "expert systems." One even hears talk of "offshoring" some legal work. thus undercutting the workers even more. And they wonder why people have been pulling for Bernie and Trump. Hello fools, it's not just the "working class" it's the overly educated suffering too.

    4. And with a whimpering hissy fit the charade came to an end ... http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2016/07/27/all-charges-dropped-against-all-remaining-officers-in-freddie-gray-case/ WHISTLEBLOWERS are needed more than ever in a time such as this ... when politics trump justice and emotions trump reason. Blue Lives Matter.

    5. "pedigree"? I never knew that in order to become a successful or, for that matter, a talented attorney, one needs to have come from good stock. What should raise eyebrows even more than the starting associates' pay at this firm (and ones like it) is the belief systems they subscribe to re who is and isn't "fit" to practice law with them. Incredible the arrogance that exists throughout the practice of law in this country, especially at firms like this one.

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