Inspiration #4: We Can No Longer Accept “Pipeline” as an Excuse
We’ve been hearing for years that there are not enough diverse legal candidates in the pipeline as reasoning for the lack of diversity inside law firms. Unfortunately, it’s tough to argue with this often evoked statement given a quote directly from an Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession study (from our friends at the ALA) published in January 2017 (with apologies that the we are unable to yet find the 2018 study). The quote states “The pipeline into the legal profession is ‘leaking’ at all points, from pre-kindergarten to the bar exam. Fewer and fewer minority students are enrolling in college or university, matriculating, or enrolling in law school.”
To that, we say “game on, challenge accepted.”
We say this because this 326 page tome goes on to say that “As a profession, we need to reach out to high school and college students by way of job fairs, speaking at career days and recruiting at schools with significant numbers of minority and diverse students. This could include adopting a historically minority college or university and developing a close relationship with students by presenting seminars, speaking at campus events, etc.”
We couldn’t have said this any better. So today, we challenge each of you to not accept the “pipeline excuse” and take vigorous action to do your part to ensure that diverse candidates are equally represented in the hiring process. And don’t forget that legal marketers have a say in this process, as demonstrated in a point we made in our 3rd installment about how corporate counsel perceive a lack of diversity in leadership positions as a red flag. You have a voice in this process, and we encourage you to use it.
You can read the entire study at this link – https://www.alanet.org/docs/default-source/diversity/iilp_2016_final_lowres.pdf?sfvrsn=2. PS – it mentions the word “pipeline” 72 times, “diversity” 1,181 times and inclusion 316 times.
One last thing, is your firm, region or LMA Local doing its part to encourage diverse candidates to join the legal profession? If so, tell us about it by responding to this post.