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How Can Law Firms Hire and Retain More Diverse Attorneys?
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Photo courtesy of Law Sarasota.

Photo courtesy of Law Sarasota.

Summary: How can law firms increase the number of minority attorneys? Leading recruiter Harrison Barnes has some insights.

Firms actively want to increase their minority applicant pool, but what can firms and applicants do to bridge the gap? Leading legal recruiter Harrison Barnes of BCG Attorney Search has worked extensively with both law firms and diverse candidates, and he offered some insights into how to recruit and retain diversity in his blog post, Law Firm Diversity: They All Talk the Talk, But It’s Harder to Walk the Walk.

  
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From his years of professional experience, Barnes has seen law firms claim to seek diversity, but then revert to old habits of hiring the same type of people who fit traditional law firm culture.

Barnes mentioned that time and time again, candidates with diverse backgrounds (race, sexual orientation, parental duties, etc.) had come to him after they had tried to find law firm jobs on their own to no avail. From his observations, he learned that although law firms said they wanted diverse attorneys, they tended not to hire them.

Barnes shared the story of a gay candidate who had almost $2,000,000 worth of business, a decade of experience, and an esteemed law degree but still could not get hired, despite several interviews. The attorney decided to revamp his resume by highlighting his diversity–his interest in LGBT groups and issues–and then the interview requests simply stopped. Barnes eventually suggested to the attorney to hide his sexual orientation and see what happened. In the candidate’s next interview, the attorney ended up getting an offer.

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Barnes noted other examples of law firms shying away from diversity, and he stated that although he believed law firms wanted to hire people who broke the homogenous environment, law firms fear people who could possibly threaten the old culture and therefore shy away from true diversity.

So what can candidates do to market themselves to law firms? And what can law firms do to actually create diverse environments, not just talk about them? In his article on BCG, Barnes offers some valuable insight.

To read his full post, click here.

Source: BCG Attorney Search 



 

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