Has the legal profession dealt with its internal issues of racial injustice?
In the year of 2021, a superficial look at the legal profession might suggest that issues of racial discrimination and inequality have been dealt with. In Philadelphia County, for instance, there are many more minority lawyers. There are minority judges, some of whom have assumed, in the present or past, leadership positions. Civil rights suits have been filed regularly that attempt to correct or change areas of racial discrimination. But a broader view, once one gets outside of urban areas, shows perhaps a different picture. For instance, counties like Chester currently have no Hispanic or Black judges, and very few minority lawyers work in the District Attorney’s or Public Defender’s offices. A similar pattern can be seen in other suburban counties. If one goes beyond the suburban counties, there are a few minority lawyers and fewer nonminority judges in many locations. This writer sponsored an African American lawyer for membership in the Middle District a year and a half ago, but he was the only nonwhite applicant. The other 20-plus people were all white.