Do you count among your friends people who:
• Ever convinced their parents to let them borrow Dad’s new car?
• Read all the terms and conditions for Facebook when they set up their account?
• Successfully challenged a parking ticket?
Be a good friend and tell them: You might be a lawyer and not even know it.
And if those friends happen to come from a unique cultural background, the news gets better: today, the legal community is more eager than ever to hire talented people of color.
Our nation’s true diversity is not represented in the legal field today. In the entire American legal system – clerks, judges, lawyers, and everything in between – only 13% are people of color. Tighten the lens in on lawyers in the United States, only 4% are Asian; 5% are black; and 4% are Hispanic.
The pool of diverse candidates is shrinking. Those with knowledge of various ethnicities and languages combined with a deep knowledge of the legal system will create a force to be reckoned with.
And a more profitable force, at that. Recent studies prove that companies with the highest level of racial diversity brought in 15% more revenue on average compared to companies with the lowest levels of racial diversity. Today's law firms and corporate/public legal departments need lawyers with diverse backgrounds who see the world from a different view.
This change is real, and it is happening today. What’s stopping you from being part of it? If you’re seriously exploring postgraduate studies that fit you and your interests, there’s a wealth of law schools right here in the Twin Cities that you could visit and learn more.
Experts agree that greater diversity will lead to a fairer legal system. So yes, you could be a big shot. Yes, you could make great money. But you could also serve the community by doing something quite noble. If it’s even been just a fleeting thought in your mind, you owe yourself, and the future of our legal system, a little time to explore this field to find out if this could be the career you’ve been looking for.
If even one of your friends doesn’t know what they want to be when they grow up, and convinced their parents to stop asking you about it, they definitely might be a future lawyer. Give them something to think about today by sending them a link to www.breakintolaw.org and take that first step.
Valerie Jensen is the Executive Director of Twin Cities Diversity in Practice, an organization dedicated to promoting and supporting diverse attorneys in the Twin Cities Area.
For more information visit www.breakintolaw.org.