If you think about the lack of diversity in Big Law as a feedback loop — the partnership class consists mainly of white men, who recruit and mentor and promote other white men, who in turn do the same — then it’s possible to bring change by interrupting the loop. And that can happen in multiple ways.
One important interruption that can change perception (which can impact decision-making) is to change the stories we tell and hear about the legal industry, and in particular to change who is telling those stories. It’s important to ask whether we are all doing enough to ensure sources in news stories reflect the diversity of the broader population.
A recently released NPR study reveals that media outlets have a lot of work to do when it comes to both gender and racial diversity in sourcing. In 2018, the voices heard on weekday NPR shows were 83% white and only 33% female. These numbers are actually worse than they were four years ago, despite efforts at the shows involved to change sourcing practices.
As with everything related to D&I in the professional world, the intentions here are good. NPR’s reporters, probably more so than other outlets, are well aware of the importance of this issue and are committed to better representation. But making strides is more difficult than it seems. For stories on government, politics and business, reporters must speak to influential leaders who can provide context and analysis. And guess who occupies the majority of those positions?
At Page 2, we are committed to helping reporters connect to a diverse array of perspectives in the legal industry who can provide that necessary expertise and are not all white men. Our first step in this process is now available on our website: a downloadable resource featuring highly accomplished law leaders who come from groups that are underrepresented in the legal media.
If you’ve resolved to quote more diverse sources in your legal industry reporting this year, we’d love to help.