It is no secret that I am a staunch supporter of diversity, equity and inclusion in this profession as I frequently write, speak and advocate on this initiative. We also know that the legal industry remains the least diverse profession in the nation and despite somewhat consistent incremental increases year over year on diversity statistics, we still have a long way to go. Becoming more diverse, equitable and inclusive is a marathon, a nonstop continuous effort and it is significantly more than just a numbers game. So while those small, incremental increases are a good start, higher diversity numbers are just the beginning to the equitable and inclusive pathway we (should) all be striving towards.
While there are some out there who feel that they have heard (and done) enough about DE&I in this profession, I strongly beg to differ. DE&I is so much more than what our eyes can see and we have only begun to scratch the surface. Diversity for instance, isn’t just those surface level differences that most attribute to DE&I (think gender and race issues) but runs far deeper. Our culture, beliefs, religion, education and socioeconomic status all attribute to what makes us unique and diverse. While there is no argument that gender and race inclusivity definitely belong at the top of the list, we need to also be more mindful that we can be more inclusive when we expand our diversity circle to include areas that don’t always receive as much attention. While the list of the four areas below is not even close to all the ways we can be more diverse, equitable and inclusive, it is a start to getting us there.