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The lack of diversity in the legal profession is nothing new. Law firms, small to large, tend to all say they want a more diverse team, but few actually do anything about it other than talk. And while many firms claim that the quality candidates they receive just are not diverse, this is largely a product of where firms solicit those candidates.
As we approach the end of the year, law firms that pledged or committed to being more diverse should evaluate how they've done. It's okay if it didn't work out, but it's not okay if nothing changes. As the saying goes: Don't expect different results from the same actions.
Below you can find a few tips on how to actually make good on that pledge to create a more diverse and inclusive law firm.
Advertise Positions to Diverse Groups
Find a few local minority bar associations and diverse law school campuses nearest to your firm and place your job ads there. If you already tried that without any success, try to sit down with someone from that group or school to analyze why you didn't get the candidates you were seeking. You may need to expand beyond a local organization or law school.
Sponsor Events and Network
If your firm is trying to attract the best diverse candidates, fostering a welcoming and inclusive culture requires more than just posting a few sentences online in your firm's "About Us" page.
Actually putting your money where your principles are will go a long way to showing diverse candidates that your firm actually cares. Sponsoring events put on by groups that promote diversity in the legal profession is as simple as writing a check and emailing in an attachment of your firm's logo to the folks putting the event on. Then, all you have to do is show up with your team and be personable, and most of all, start building a diverse network.
Pay and Poach
If you just can't seem to get good candidates applying, try to do some headhunting. Poaching associates may not be looked upon favorably by other firms, but if you're willing to pay, the associates being poached tend not to mind.
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