Diversity Dialogue Broadening Business Perspectives

Keep Your Firm’s Diversity Initiatives on Track in the New Year

The discussion surrounding diversity goals and initiatives has been one of the most rapidly growing topics among human resource professionals in law firms within the past five years. 

JaNae Martin

This growth is due largely to several major contributing factors: recent social justice movements; landmark Supreme Court decisions that gave increased protections to covered individuals in the workplace; and an overwhelming number of studies that continue to show that firms with diversity strategies are more successful than their counterparts in terms of revenue, employee satisfaction, retention and hiring.

If your legal organization is making strides in this area, keep the momentum going. As you begin preparing for the new year, now is the perfect time to review of your firm’s diversity goals and initiatives to make sure you stay on track in 2023.


In reviewing your firm’s diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) policies, you should first consider inclusivity in all areas of the workplace — from the conference rooms to the break room.

The first step to this review process is to pull out the plan. If there is no actionable, easily identifiable plan that is ready to be reviewed, you’ve identified your first problem.

Diversity goals are not just a tagline that looks good on your firm’s website; these goals and values must be etched into the core values and everyday practices of your firm. They must be present and represented in everything from employing diverse hiring practices to considering which vendors the firm employs.

The National Association for Law Placement found that there are three universal tenets that have proven essential to a successful strategy for enhancing and embracing DEIA in the legal industry:

  1. There should be a strong demonstrated commitment from leadership.  
  2. DEIA must be defined as a core value of the organization.  
  3. Specific goals must be identified, and metrics must be utilized to ensure accountability and progress.


A great method to evaluate the effectiveness of your firm’s current DEIA policies is to survey a representative group of current employees anonymously. Sometimes, numbers really do lie. If the numbers are there, but there is an overall feeling that the firm has not moved toward a more diverse and inclusive atmosphere, then it’s time to reevaluate your goals.

Do your employees feel as though they belong? Your review should center around the type of environment in which your employees work and whether that culture is in accordance with the firm’s diversity objectives.

“Diversity goals are not just a tagline that looks good on your firm’s website; these goals and values must be etched into the core values and everyday practices of your firm.”

As an efficient legal administrator, you should consider inclusivity in all areas of your workplace. Review everything from pay equity, time-off policies and holiday celebrations to staff communications and client relationships. Does everyone feel as though they belong? If not, it’s time to assess needs and implement change.


Now that you have gathered both qualitative and quantitative results for how well your firm is performing with its DEIA goals and strategies, it’s time to consider what can be done to either keep up the good work — or what can be done to bring your firm closer to its goals. Here are some suggestions:

  • Spread the word: Develop a fresh strategy to get the DEIA plan and initiatives to your workforce. Think of new emails, a fresh tagline and/or marketing materials, postings in the breakroom, etc. This provides very clear communication with the firm’s employees on the goals of the organization.
  • Put your money where your mouth is: What resources does your firm put behind its initiatives? Is there a budget for plans and programs that make sense in furthering your DEIA goals?
  • Consider including mentorship activities, sponsorships of groups or organizations within local communities, a scholarship to a gender-specific or culturally specific prelaw students’ group, bringing in a speaker on a particular topic during a lunch and learn series, or even volunteering at a local legal aid society for clients who cannot otherwise afford representation.
  • Develop mentorship programs with attorneys and staff from diverse backgrounds.
  • Consider using cultural calendars to celebrate diversity.
  • Create initiatives during recruitment that promote diverse hiring tactics and bring in diverse pools of applicants. Then look at your recruitment materials. What do they look like? Are they representative of your DEIA goals? Your communications to both potential and established clients set the tone of your firm and should be reflective of your DEIA goals.

Remember, your firm’s diversity plan should be embedded into the organization’s culture. Every employee should know where their organization stands. If you perceive that to be an issue, then conduct a review of the ways in which the firm's objectives are communicated to the team. 

DEIA strategies within your organization are the key to achieving a well-balanced law firm that is ahead of its counterparts. Simply creating a DEIA policy and storing it away does not contribute to the overall advancement of the firm. Taking the time out to review, analyze and refresh your DEIA goals puts your firm well on track to break through into the new year with success!

If you need help in building a business case for diversity, please be sure to check out alanet.org/resources/diversity. Here you’ll find Becoming an Advocate for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility. This new brochure is a valuable tool in gathering ideas and research and making a business case for advancing diversity and inclusion in your organization. It includes facts and studies that your company can’t afford not to consider.