That was then: 15 law student Fellows looking rather worried as we explain that they need to plan, research, and write a publishable-quality legal advocacy paper.
This is now: 15 published authors proudly...
By Adonica Black, JD
Legal professionals nationwide will participate in the 2023 LexisNexis® Equity in the Law Symposium in Miami and virtually on October 27, 2023, featuring presentations of the...
September is Cares Month here at LexisNexis Legal & Professional, and indeed across all RELX! While our LexisNexis colleagues strive to give back all year round, September is a particularly active...
By Nigel Roberts
The basic idea of the “rule of law” goes back at least as far as 2000 BC, when the Babylonian king inscribed the laws for his country on a stone pillar that could be read...
By Adonica Black, JD
It is my honor to introduce to the legal community 15 promising law students who are the 2023 recipients of the LexisNexis African Ancestry Network & LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation...
By Adonica Black, JD | Director, Global Talent Development and Inclusion, LexisNexis®
We recently published a blog post in this space to share highlights from Increasing Equity in the Legal System, a report published by LexisNexis that showcases the research and practical recommendations produced by the 2022 recipients of the LexisNexis African Ancestry Network & LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation Fellowship.
However, we’ve decided to go beyond publishing a report. We’re now rolling up our sleeves as an organization and are marshaling our resources to endeavor to make a practical, tangible impact in the effort to eliminate systemic racism in the legal system.
The Fellowship Program launched in 2021 with a class of 12 Fellows and grew to a class of 18 Fellows last year. All Fellows were selected from institutions that are part of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Law School Consortium. Each Fellow in these first two cohorts was awarded a $10,000 tuition grant and given nine months to conduct their research, working alongside LexisNexis employees to identify potential solutions to systemic racism challenges in the U.S. legal system.
Our cross-departmental team of LexisNexis employees took a deep dive into the research published by these first two classes of Fellows and identified five specific areas of focus — which we’re referring to as “Cluster Projects” — in which we believe that we can make a meaningful impact.
Here are the five cluster projects that we are tackling right now:
We are striving to increase the representation of diverse legal practitioner in prestigious and lucrative fields of law by providing HBCU law school students with additional professional development, career support, and industry exposure to ensure their access to opportunities.
We are developing a mobile application to provide legal education to diverse children and adolescents. The app will be designed to increase literacy, comprehension, and interest in the rule of law and critical concepts, such as Miranda rights, for youth and their parents and guardians. This increased interest will support future growth in diverse representation in the legal profession.
We are working to create an accessible repository of inclusive curriculum resources (“I, Too, Sing America”), including racially diverse case law, to help legal scholars, historians, legal faculty, and others increase awareness of minority culture, nuances, and effects in the law. The repository will be available to users through Lexis+ and various secondary supplemental materials. We plan to also add a keyword search filter to the LexisNexis platform to distinguish racially diverse cases.
We are gathering data and analysis to document potential racial bias in the current jury selection process, then plan to develop a jury dashboard to show what a representative jury might look like in a county-by-county data visualization tool. This tech-enabled tool will be made available for use by practitioners and members of the community.
We are increasing access to the legal system by providing tools and resources for legal practitioners doing pro bono work to combat systemic racism in the legal system. We also will provide support tools and resources to legal clinics around the U.S. to help them address challenges related to equity in building wealth, in the courts and in the criminal justice system. Examples of topics to be included are Resource Kits on Lexis+ for Intellectual Property, Consumer Bankruptcy, Wills/Estate Planning, Appraisal Bias, Court Proceedings for misdemeanor or traffic violations, and more.
We recognize that these five projects each represent incremental steps in the wider effort to eliminate systemic racism. We believe that, collectively, they represent an important stride in attacking a social ill that will require all of us who work in the legal industry to move in the same direction towards equity. To that end, we invite law firms and other providers of legal services to join us in this effort that is bigger than any one organization.
For more information about how your firm or organization can participate by substantively and financially supporting the LexisNexis African Ancestry Network & LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation Fellowship program, please contact me at Adonica.firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Fellowship initiative is an extension of LexisNexis’ commitment to eliminate systemic racism in legal systems and to build a culture of inclusion and diversity within our company. Our vision is that we must do what we can, where we can, whenever we can, to keep moving forward in the pursuit of justice and equality.