Without a doubt, law firm leaders are much more concerned about making their profession a bit diverse. In the past, minorities and women were not included in the higher ranks. Hence, to these leaders, improving workplace diversity has become a priority.
According to statistics, women make up a total of less than a quarter of law firm partners. Concerning ethnic diversity, minorities only make up 9.13% of law firm partners. Out of this, 9.13%, 3.19% are women.
When law firms boost diversity, they get various benefits. These benefits include:
1. Increased firm’s reputation.
2. Quality of services.
3. And, they will enhance the support towards the inclusion of external diversity.
What to do?
There are various things that law firms can do to make improvements. These improvements will break down both gender and racial barriers, hence making a better partner.
The leaders in the firm should seek to mentor their juniors or younger associates. For any firm to be successful, there should be people who are prospective leaders. Each associate should also look forward to having a mentor in their area of practice.
Having mentors ensures the navigation of volunteerism and social service. When these associates work closely and on a single table, they feel equal no matter their age, gender, or race. The leaders can also hear their views without discrimination.
Also, since the leaders have a good reputation, they can connect them in the firms, in other organizations and make the community know them.
When they make such relationships, they will have built their reputation. Also, they will help solve a good number of clients’ issues.
Firms can also work on retaining lawyers. Making these lawyers stay around the law firms for longer periods will help them advance their professions.
Besides, the successful lawyers will motivate the minority members and younger women to join the institution. Hence, a good inspiration.
Most associates must wait up to five or seven years before they become junior partners. And to become a senior partner, they must wait for around fifteen years for the process to complete. Not many associates can wait for this long. Some may even move to other professions.
According to a study done on 800 law firms, the firms lost almost fifteen out of twenty of every associate they had hired. Losing these associates is costly. The firms spend lots of money and resources of up to 500,000 dollars on recruiting as well as training an associate.
Therefore, if there can be a dialogue between the associates and the leaders they can set clear expectations which can result in job satisfaction.
Also, there is a need for flexible work schedules, and childcare schedules can help to improve the associates’ retention.
In addition, the leaders need to constantly check and confirm that the associates are on track and are satisfied. This action will ensure that everyone is at their best; hence, the organization will move smoothly and thrive.
A neutral hearing
In an organization, workers may not lack issues with each other. And in a law firm, an associate may have problems with a partner. If it happens, the associate may feel that he is unfairly treated or criticized. Setting a peer network outside the firm can help in a way by level setting.
The network can hear out their fellow in an unbiased manner and make him retrieve.
For many years, attorneys have demanding work schedules, and law firms have tried to accommodate their needs.
The lawyers, too, have families. Some need maternity leaves, while others need time for a vacation. Giving them time for their own schedules can only happen if there is a firm show of support.
Due to technology advancements, firms can flexibly allow their associates to create time for their family, especially if they have children.
Most understanding firm leaders do not care where the associates are. The firms are most concerned about getting things done. Whether at home or in the office, the associate should ensure that he has worked on what he is supposed to. Robert Baker, a Weston personal injury lawyer has always allowed his associates to work from when they need it. “I understand that my associates have life priorities outside of work, and if allowing them to work from home eases their stress I’m all for it.”
The idea of supporting these associates is to help them be happy. And happy associates will always give the best results in the firm.
Creating a sense of community
Racial injustices can cause people to feel low and intimidating. A good law firm will ensure that its associates are not going through difficulty. Creating a sense of togetherness will help the employees feel joined, and no one will feel out of place.
Since not everyone in the firm can do this, creating a group that deals with this issue can greatly help. And the committee should be diverse. Diversity will help to inspire the minority member and will know that, indeed, they can succeed.
Even when these minority members join the firm, they can look at the diverse leaders and see some of their own. By doing this, they will have seen and known what success is. And if they do not see one of their own succeedings, it will be hard for them to believe they too can also be successful.