Tag: Diversity

Women at Law: The Need for Diversity

Lori Cornmesser IxiaDuring a court case, facts are examined, questions are put to witnesses, and the truth is pursued one fact at a time. So how can such a great fallacy committed against women exist at the very core of where justice is sought. Underrepresented, underappreciated, and passed over for powerful positions in the American Bar Association, women continue to struggle against a tide of prejudice in the workplace.

A study conducted in 2013 entitled “First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table,” found women to be utterly misrepresented when compared to the number of men leading trials. The study went further to identify contributing factors to this deficit, like practice settings, type of client, case specific characteristics, and prejudicial biast. Current popular opinion places their confidence in men to lead as trial counsel, when no evidence supports such a belief.

However, the study did more than simply identify a problem that’s been all but spelled out for years. The authors of the study, Roberta D. Liebenberg and Stephanie A. Scharf, weigh in heavily on the topic. “A woman is going to get more opportunity to litigate by serving as a federal prosecutor than working at a private firm,” Liebenberg says. “And a lot of that has to do with the pipeline in law firms and issues that we have been discussing for years.” Continuing on to site that only 15% of equity partners at law firms are women, when a staggering 50% are graduating with the necessary degrees. This disparity indicates that women aren’t staying long enough, whether pressured by superiors or withheld advancement, to achieve the level of success needed to become partner.

Other staggering statistics were uncovered by the study, highlighting areas of gender disparity that run through a myriad of court cases. Women are far less likely to be lead council in contract, labor, intellectual property, and civil cases. In defense cases, men appear as 66% of the lead council. Though women take the higher percentile of government related cases, the vast majority of legal battles are being waged by men.

How to Be Promoter of Equality & Diversity at Your Workplace

The message is clear – Diversity and equality in the workplace promotes a healthy environment of employees, thus a health company.

Lori Cornmesser

However, there are some people in some companies who do not see this important fact, or are not necessarily adhering to it. It’s important for leaders or management to serve as an example to everyone else when it comes to promoting diversity, as well as equality.

Even if you do not hold a position of power or influence within your company, you can still promote a healthy workplace environment by advocating for equality and diversity. This means simply serving as an example for others to follow.

Here are a few steps:

1. Form a committee around diversity/equality and improve your company culture.

2. For managers: Analyze statistics of current employee population to make sure there is enough diversity and proper equality.

3. Deliberately recruit for new positions while keeping diversity in mind.

4. Make the company’s equal employment policy known.

5. Train current employees on how to deal with and benefit from diversity.

Taking all these steps to improve the environment at your workplace and serving as an example to others will prove to be beneficial to the company.

Understanding the Importance of Diversity

Promoting diversity within smart businesses is not only to check boxes while creating the culture of a company. Diversity directly increases revenue as different languages, cultural backgrounds, and business methods come into play.

Lori Cornmesser

The world is an ever-changing and interconnected network of people from all different backgrounds and expertise. Consumers are more interested in how diverse your company’s business is as the products they are buying are diverse themselves.

GE says, “As a global company, our talent must reflect the communities we serve and with whom we do business.”

Workplace diversity is difficult when it comes to ensuring a positive environment and experience for all employees. Acknowledging and appreciating the cultural differences and finding ways to adapt to each other is important. Maintaining and helping others preserve their own differences and preferences is what makes for a happy group. Communication is key. Honest communication leads to harmony within the company, in any and all cases.

The more your company understands new and different faces of a business, the greater your chances for success.