Diversity and Minority Promotion and Retention in Law Firms

Diversity and Minority Promotion and Retention in Law Firms

"This path breaking research sends a message to America's law firms that is loud and clear: the best law students want to work at the firms where they have a fair chance at promotion, and where it is possible to work hard and enjoy a family life. It's about time students collected this kind of basic information about law firms and began to vote with their feet."

-Michele Landis Dauber, ph.d., Professor of Law and (by courtesy) Sociology, Stanford Law School

It was with this quote in mind that I began my work with the New Media Group. I am  interested in issues of diversity and minority promotion and retention in law firms as well as work-life balance in the firms and become interested in the New Media project because of the focus it placed on grassroots advocacy and the opportunity it gave to help enhance BBLP's current structure and popularity. The project was two-fold: 1) To increase knowledge of BBLP through innovative technology; specifically Google's AdWords advertising program, and 2) To encourage law school Offices of Career Services to incorporate.  

The purpose of the first portion of our project was easy enough-we used a Google AdWords Grant to create ads that would capture the attention of people searching Google for any one of the numerous keywords we matched. As a result, when people searched "Blank Rome," for example, they'd find one of our Blank Rome Ads on the right side of their screen beside the non-paid Google search findings and if they clicked on the ad, would be directed to the BBLP website, increasing traffic to the site and raising awareness of BBLP.  

The second portion of the New Media project, however, most caught my eye. Through our weekly discussion sections with Davida and after talking with a number of Stanford Law Students, we found out about a number of common problems with Offices of Career Services at law schools around the nation. Indeed the crux of the dilemma and the basis of the second half of our project is that Career services offices often don't have the time, incentives, or resources to counsel students about the differences between firms and help them be selective in their decisions. We furthermore learned that offices focused on getting the bottom percent of students jobs and have an incentive to get students any job because many law-school rankings are based upon employment numbers for students 1 year out of law school. As a result, OCS is generally not concerned with whether students are happy or if students leave their job after the first year.   

Many offices also count on students to do independent research on the things that they value about firms, but the present and most prevalent options for research, like NALP, are difficult to navigate and don't break down the information in a way that is conducive to the type of issues that law students are concerned with.  

In the end our project, both the OCS side and the AdWords side, simply aimed to promote BBLP. But why? Why is BBLP important? Why is it relevant? And moreover, why is it revolutionary?


Building a Better Legal Profession (BBLP) is an organization based at Stanford Law School.   BBLP is a national grassroots movement that seeks market-based workplace reforms in large private law firms. For more information, visit BBLP's Web site at www.betterlegalprofession.org.

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