Saturday, October 25, 2014

Legal Industry In Need of Diversity as Career Opportunities Seen to Grow

Diversity is an essential need even in the highest court of the land, and in the country's law firms. It was reported U.S. Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor expressed concern Saturday about the lack of diverse legal and life experience among those who sit on the country's highest court. Thomas noted that all nine Supreme Court justices attended either Yale or Harvard University. He said everyone should be concerned that the nation's highest court has "such a strong Northeastern orientation." Sotomayor said the court has many lawyers from big law firms, but not as many from middle courts.

Meanwhile, diversity was a big topic at this year’s Philadelphia Bar Association Bench-Bar Annual Conference in Atlantic City, N.J., wherein best practices to create and maintain a diverse and inclusive law practice that offers equal opportunity for advancement for all, with the goal of eliminating bias from business development, client relationship management and procurement. One of the panelists, Albert S. Dandridge III, chancellor-elect of the bar association, said that the first way to create a more diverse law firm environment is to recognize that you have a problem. You next need to get buy-in from firm leadership to do something about it. Read more:

The legal industry offers vast career opportunities as legal jobs are expected to prosper well into the next decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of lawyers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for lawyers was $113,530 in May 2012.

Likewise, paralegal jobs are seen to increase as well. Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted. This occupation attracts many applicants, and competition for jobs will be strong. The median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants was $46,990 in May 2012.

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