Recruiting for Diversity in Your Law Firm

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on February 08, 2016 11:10 AM

Diversity matters. It increases the variety of viewpoints available, improves performance, and boosts revenue -- a lot. The most racially diverse companies bring in 15 times more revenue than the least diverse, according to a study by the American Sociological Association. In the legal market, diversity isn't just good for business, it's good for business development, helping you reach a broader base of clientele.

In a profession that's absurdly homogenous, diversity is something that you need to work at. Here's how.

Recruiting Is About Relationship Building

Recruiting a diverse workforce means more than just announcing an opening and hoping your ideal candidates apply. When it comes to building diversity within your firm, you need to be proactive. Part of that that is networking. As Harvard advises:

To improve your chances of attracting diverse candidates when job opportunities arise on your team, start recruiting now, by networking with people and groups that are likely to lead to diverse talent -- and continue to network.

They're speaking to academics, but the lesson is broadly applicable.

Start by reaching out to organizations for underrepresented legal professionals. There are a host of associations for women attorneys, black attorneys, Hispanic attorneys, gay attorneys, older attorneys, disabled attorneys, etc. Attending events and building relationships through these groups is a great way to expose your firm to future potential talent.

Taking a More Formal Approach

If glad-handing isn't your thing, you can also take a more systematic approach. Consider establishing internship programs with law schools that have a higher percentage of underrepresented populations, or for students from diverse backgrounds. A law student internship program can let you "test out," while also training, future talent. The same is true of formal mentorship programs, which you can direct at new attorneys.

Think of recruiting talent like you recruit clients. It's about marketing yourself to your audience, building relationships, and demonstrating your worth. If you make the effort, a little investment in recruiting a diverse workforce can pay off.

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