Law Firm Diversity: An Attainable Goal or a Mythical Illusion?

For the Defense

Authored Article


Folklore tells us that a leprechaun can be found at the end of every rainbow, guarding a pot of gold. But the reality is that any effort to find the treasure by walking along the rainbow’s path to its apparent end would be futile; rainbows only refract light and do not have true ends. A pot of gold waiting to be found by some lucky rainbow chaser is nothing but pure fantasy. 

But what is not a myth is that diversity in United States law firms remains as elu-sive as any mischievous leprechaun’s pot of gold waiting at the “end” of a rainbow. The topic of diversity (or the lack of it) in U.S. law firms has been bantered about, mulled over, debated, and discussed for decades. And while some noble efforts have been undertaken to reach the ultimate goal of diverse and inclusive law firms, those efforts have produced only moder-ate improvements or they have failed alto-gether. Most law firms still lack the level of diversity necessary to reflect the in-house legal departments of their clients or of soci-ety as a whole. Diversity in law firms, there-fore, is akin to the folkloric pot of gold: something that would be ideal to have but that remains out of reach no matter how hard you may try to grab it.

Republished with permission. The full article first appeared in the September 2018 issue of For the Defense.