12032016Headline:

Milestone Consulting, New York

HomeNew YorkMilestone Consulting

Email John Bair John Bair on LinkedIn John Bair on Twitter John Bair on Facebook
John Bair
John Bair
Contributor • (716) 883-1833

Judge Pushes to Increase Diversity in Court-Appointed Roles

Comments Off

There is a strong correlation between serving in leadership roles and obtaining success in the legal profession. Today, leaders and law groups are pushing to give more qualified women, minorities and small-firm lawyers the same shot at winning court appointments as those who have historically been appointed to those roles.

At the end of her term as President of the National Association of Women Judges, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Lisa Walsh signed a resolution that federal and state trial court judges should work to appoint lawyers with diverse backgrounds to prestigious roles such as lead class counsel, bankruptcy trustee, mediator, and more. The resolution, which was drafted by American Association for Justice President Julie Braman Kane and Philadelphia attorney Bobbi Liebenberg, has now been adopted in some form by six national organizations and is being considered by the American Bar Association.

diversity in lawIn recent years, the legal profession has seen exceptional accomplishments spearheaded by underrepresented groups. A historical precedent set in 2015, for example, with In Re: Power Morcellator Products Liability Litigation as a first ever women-majority multi-district litigation. Organizations and other groups are raising awareness to promote diversity. The Infinity Project is committed to increasing public awareness about “… the lack of and importance of gender equity on the bench and the availability of qualified women candidates.” Women En Mass gathers female mass tort attorneys to discuss issues that affect women professionally. Still, there is still much to be done in the legal area and other fields of business.

All qualified professionals deserve a shot at leadership roles. The workplace benefits from diversity, too, as a variety of perspectives can solve a myriad of issues. According to an article in Entrepreneur, diversity can have the following advantages:

  • Increasing access to insights, experiences and world views
  • Driving innovation
  • Appreciating differences across cultures, genders and more
  • Increasing creativity
  • Making staff recruitment easier
  • Marketing to all groups of consumers more effectively

Putting a national spotlight has the potential to encourage formal courtroom processes to increase diversity, according to Linda Bray Chanow, executive director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Women in Law. “If there’s not any women or diverse lawyers in that selection pool, are you looking broadly enough at the qualified applicants for the position?” Chanow asked. It’s an important question to ask in the legal field and in other professions, too – whether all those with requisite experience are being considered as leaders.