ArticlesVolume 4, Issue 1 (2013)

Diversity In The Legal Profession: From Rhetoric To Reality

Citation:4 COLUM. J. RACE & L. 1 (2013)

Abstract

The legal profession, more than others, is uniquely positioned at the helm of social change. The law is shaped by cultural shifts, and it is the lawyer that plays the role of architect. Yet, the legal profession is the least diverse and inclusive profession of all, failing to adapt to the ever changing demographics of American society. Despite numerous attempts at creating diversity and inclusion within the profession, the legal profession remains today much as it was at its inception—white, male dominated. This Article aims to make contributions that will raise awareness to the crucial need for diversity and inclusion within the legal profession such as logical measures beyond sanctions, which are cost effective, responsible, and deeply rooted in the profession. The current call by diversity groups for an affirmative ethics rule that would sanction lawyers who engage in discrimination in employment practices would be costly and duplicative. Thus, this Article discusses a cross-section of available rules that are less costly, more manageable alternatives. The Article proposes that the goal of diversity and inclusion within the profession cannot be forced, but must be realized through consistent measures aimed at creating accountability, educational awareness, and building supporting connections at each level of the professional hierarchy.