According to the 2020 ABA Profile of the Legal Profession, in 1970, 9% of enrolling law students were women. Today, that number is 53.3% and has been relatively steady for 20 years. So why is it that only 21% of equity partners are women, and many big law firms have even lower numbers? In 2011, 25% of first-year law students were minorities, and in 2019, it was 31% - yet only 10% of partners are minorities. Only 2.99% of attorneys openly identify at LGBTQA+, yet 6.86% of summer associates openly identify as LGBTQA+. Are they not being hired, or are they declining to report?
We have founded the Jane Bolin Project, named after the first Black woman appointed to serve as a judge in the United States in 1939. Our team is running a campaign for equality in the legal profession by asking GCs of America’s largest companies to include a version of the following model rider in all future matters:
The team of lawyers who work on this/all matters must be inclusive and diverse. The ABA defines diversity to include gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQ+ identification, and disability status. Half of the partners leading any case, and half of the team as a whole shall, absent extenuating circumstances, be diverse.
Our goal for the end of the year is to garner a critical mass of support from signers, partner organizations, and sponsors which allows us to expand our organizational base and reach to realize our mission.