Can a Text Analytics Tool Create More Diverse Law Firms?

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 24, 2019 12:00 PM

An auto-fill function can cover a multitude of sins. It can cover poor spelling mistakes. It can fill-in for a thesaurus. It can even make a slow typist faster. And in the latest version, it can help a law firm avoid discrimination.

Oops, we meant to say "create diversity."

Textio Says

Textio, a text analytics startup, has been helping companies find more diverse candidates for about five years. It "unlocks the best language" to engage prospective new hires. In other words, it replaces words that might otherwise turn off the applicant pool. Now the company has a new tool -- Textio Flow. It does more than auto-fill a few words; it uses artificial intelligence to write job descriptions for employers.

Forbes says it will take the words right out of your mouth -- and maybe improve them. Instead of suggesting a few words, it writes whole paragraphs. It incorporates Textio's datasets and a company's information with an eye towards culture change. "It's not just holding up the mirror to how you actually sound," said Jensen Harris, co-founder of Textio. "But it's software to actually change how you sound."

Hiring Legalese

If anybody needs culture change, it's law firms. Too many are old boys clubs and slow to adapt to technology. Everybody knows that, or at least they know about it at Paul,Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. The firm recently named 12 new partners, and 11 of them were men. In a law firm announcement, a photo shows the group of men and one woman. "Where did you put the rest of the women?" others asked.

After a public outrcy, Paul Weiss admitted the firm can "do better." Chairman Brad Karp said the gender imbalance "resulted from an idiosyncratic demographic pool and which I can assure you will not be repeated."

Perhaps Textio could help with that idiosyncratic demographic pool. Just sayin'.

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