Statistics show that there is disproportionate representation of minorities in law firms and in-house that does not reflect society or the corporations they represent. The legal profession is one of the least diverse professions in the United States. Last week, Bryan Parker, CEO of Legal Innovators, was featured in Episode 78 of Clio’s Daily Matters podcast, where he discussed the significance of data and metrics in enhancing diversity in today’s legal industry and the changes law firms need to make.
In Bryan’s view, “one of the reasons that diversity and inclusion initiatives maybe haven’t driven as many results as they could is that we’re not putting metrics on it.” Spending money, hosting numerous galas, and giving to good causes, while philanthropic, is not going to drive results. It is more important to measure the numbers, be transparent about the figures and then focus on improving those numbers. By utilizing data, firms and corporations can take a more targeted approach to meet diversity and inclusion efforts, level the playing field and determine how to retain diverse attorneys. Using data to drive reform through evidence-based systems can allow for a focus on pipeline growth of underrepresented groups, enable equality of opportunity on matters, and illustrate period over period growth in profit per partner.
Bryan also emphasizes that checking in on associates’ mental health is vital. In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Bryan concludes “your black colleagues and friends are not okay.” Bryan states that African American lawyers “experience some of the same realities that are going on in some of these incidents.” Thus, Bryan urges that law firms need to cultivate a culture where they ask, “are you okay?” and make support available for everyone. Expressing empathy is a start. Truly understanding why the empathy is needed, is a further step forward on the continuum toward finding a solution.
Listen to the full episode here!