Historically, law has ranked as not just lacking in diversity; it’s potentially America’s least diverse profession. The legal community’s homogeneity is apparent in the American Bar Association’s 2022 Demographic Survey, its numbers illustrating a significant gap in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) representation in America’s 1.3 million lawyers:
Hispanic lawyers are very underrepresented in the legal profession. The survey found 5.8% of all lawyers are Hispanic. The U.S. population is 18.5% Hispanic.
The percentage of Black lawyers is nearly unchanged over the past decade. In 2012, the survey found 4.7% of all lawyers were Black. Today, the number is 4.5%, far less than the share of Black people in the U.S. population (13.4%).
LCLD Is a Catalyst for Progress
Everlaw recently joined the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), a cross-industry organization composed of more than 400 corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners, working to build a more open and diverse legal profession. LCLD is a powerful force in improving the diversity of the U.S. legal industry.
Everlaw Chief Legal Officer Shana Simmons spearheaded our company’s membership in LCLD, making both personal and corporate commitments to promote diversity and inclusion at Everlaw, and in the broader legal community.
“Joining LCLD sends a strong signal that Everlaw is part of the solution, today, to decades of inequity,” Shana said. “On behalf of all Everlawyers I am proud to announce that, together with hundreds of other industry-leading legal and tech firms, we are committed to effecting lasting change.”
Meet Our LCLD Everlawyers
Everlaw’s participation in LCLD gives us access to two of this organization’s outstanding programs, designed to advance a new generation of leaders:
Fellows Program: Launched in 2011, LCLD’s flagship Fellows Program connects high-potential, mid-career lawyers with General Counsel and Managing Partners from preeminent organizations for a year-long professional development series.
Pathfinder Program: Designed to supplement training initiatives at LCLD member organizations, the Pathfinder Program gives high-potential, early-career lawyers practical, relationship-building skills for forging internal professional networks.
Russell says, “I am privileged to be able to participate in the LCLD program as a 2023 Fellow. LCLD truly makes a difference by bringing together so many legal leaders from diverse backgrounds and asking us how we can make the world a better, more inclusive, and more representative place.
“Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging are essential in creating a fairer and more just society,” he continues. “Everlaw’s mission is about promoting justice, and the company’s philosophy is to always act with integrity. This makes LCLD and Everlaw fully aligned on the impact we can have on the world. As a compliance and privacy professional, I am already fortunate to be working with Everlaw. Our company’s commitment to doing the right thing, always, makes my role especially rewarding since Everlaw recognizes the value of diversity, and I am able to contribute to further change.”
From Yvonne’s perspective, “The LCLD program is a movement for change in the legal profession. It is an opportunity to use our collective voices to build a legal profession that is as diverse as the communities we serve, and the pipeline of law students graduating from law schools of all tiers. My appointment as a 2023 Fellow is a call to action to do everything in my power to champion diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, amplify diverse voices, and mentor and sponsor a pipeline of confident, diverse lawyers.
“Lawyers are often tagged as ‘leaders’ because we advise and teach, but lawyers don’t usually get the leadership training that MBAs do,” she adds.
“Professional development and leadership training are important because they can teach a lawyer to be a confident legal advisor who can influence outcomes – in other words, a leader. Otherwise, we would just be ‘lawyers’ who know the law well.”
Joshua enthuses, “I am thrilled to be selected as the inaugural LCLD Pathfinder for Everlaw. For individuals like me, who represent several marginalized identities, being part of an organization that embraces diversity, and advocates for equity in a profession that has historically lacked such representation, is life-changing.
"I’m reminded not just that I belong here, but that my story makes me uniquely qualified for my role.
“Representation matters,” he emphasizes, “but what is often missing is a safe space for people who struggle with challenges to share their experiences of being the ‘only’ or ‘one of few’ in their organizations, and to know they are not alone.
"That is where LCLD comes in. I am confident that with this organization’s continued support, I will press forward in embracing my unique qualities, delivering value throughout my career.”
Please join us in celebrating Everlaw’s commitment to drive diversity in the legal profession with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, and the present and future contributions of Russell, Yvonne and Joshua.