As we celebrate Black History Month, which has been celebrated since 1926, it is hard to believe there is still a need to convince law firm partners and managers about the importance of diversity, equity, & inclusion (DEI). The legal profession remains the least diverse of all other professions. Now is the time for change, and it is also a time for law firms to embrace and implement DEI within their firm’s culture. The U.S. Census Bureau forecasts that by 2045, our country will be comprised of a more racially and ethnically diverse population. As such, a more diverse population means that law firms must recruit with the intention of creating a workforce that accurately reflects the world we will soon all inhabit. Some law firms have realized the importance of changing the look of their workforce, but a vast majority of firms still continue to struggle to understand why diversity is so important.

Diversity within law firms and our judicial system is not only important because it is morally correct; there is a strong financial incentive for firms to expand their pool of attorneys from varying backgrounds. According to the 2021 ABA National Lawyer Population Survey, African American lawyers make up about 4.7% of the U.S. lawyer population. While this number may appear low, this survey’s data emphasizes the trend noted by the U.S. Census Bureau’s numbers that our country and also the legal profession is becoming more diverse. As a signal from clients wanting more diversity, law firms around the country have found some clients are specifically requesting African American attorneys to be assigned to their case(s). By failing to meet today’s diversity standards, firms can miss out on new client opportunities, possibly losing out before ever being considered.