Why is diversity important in law firms?
As well as being the right thing to do from an ethical standpoint, law firms with a focus on diversity see increased productivity and also help boost public confidence in the legal system. Here we outline some of the reasons why diversity is important in law firms.
Different perspectives, diverse strategies
A workforce made up of people from different backgrounds is one full of different perspectives, allowing a firm to tackle issues from a range of angles. This could especially be valuable in decision-making, as fresh approaches to problems often encourage innovative solutions.
This results in better outcomes: research shows that companies with a diverse workforce perform better and are more productive. A study by McKinsey, for example, found that companies that hire employees from different backgrounds have better financial returns than ones that do not.
In a diverse law firm, different solicitors bring different qualities and strengths to the table, which can be used to the advantage of the company to help it succeed. For each case or issue, it allows for the development and implementation of the optimum legal strategy.
Clients also want to see the legal industry changing, and rightly so. A diverse law firm is better at meeting the needs of a wide array of clients than one that is not. By hiring solicitors from different backgrounds, firms are able to support clients that they might otherwise not necessarily work with.
Studies have shown that clients are more at ease if they work with solicitors that have a similar background to themselves. It increases their trust in the firm, allowing clients to feel confident about the solicitors employed there to represent them. By working with lawyers from a particular background, clients may have a more personalised experience and are provided a better quality service.
Looking at the bigger picture, a diverse team of solicitors means that a law firm is able to work with a wider client base, which allows the company to grow.
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A bigger pool of potential employees
Considering a larger pool of potential employees allows a firm to hire the person who is the best suited for a particular opening. In certain situations it might be applicable to take on a lawyer who has experience working with or has a similar background to a particular client base that the firm deals with.
It can improve the quality of work done and enable the firm to develop the best legal strategy for each client.
A better work environment & culture
By increasing the diversity of their team, law firms are able to create a more inclusive and interesting workplace. Changing the culture of the firm from within helps reduce discrimination and establish a welcoming community where employees have a sense of attachment and belonging to the business.
Hiring solicitors from different backgrounds allows law firms to establish a diverse support network amongst employees, where everyone can find support when they need it. A welcoming work environment increases morale, which in turn can augment the firm’s productivity and allows solicitors to grow by learning from each other.
As you can see, it is in the interest of both law firms and their clients that the legal industry becomes more diverse and increases the number of employees from underrepresented backgrounds.