The legal industry has long been known to suffer from the problem of diversity and inclusion, and legal departments are still struggling to improve the diversity in their external counsel.
But legal departments can go a long way toward addressing these difficulties in their hiring decisions.
Gone are the days when law departments had only two options – keeping the work at home or sending it abroad to a law firm – are over.
Today, legal departments have an additional option of turning to Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs), particularly temporary counseling providers.
A recent legal industry diversification problem Take center stage When he was General Counsel for Coca-Cola Bradley Jayton He criticized the efforts of the “very unproductive” industry To achieve diversity, he said that good intentions were no longer enough.
Coca-Cola law firms You must staff now At least 30% of new cases are with diversified attorneys or risk reduced legal fees or complete removal from the list.
These are just the latest in a series of initiatives designed to motivate internal legal departments to drive change through a commitment to make decisions when retaining external legal services that help increase diversity and inclusion.
For nearly four years, Diversity Lab Mansfield Base Working to bridge the gender gap in the industry, with 117 participating companies sign in Mansfield Rule 4.0. Similar rules now exist for Medium-sized companies And Legal departments. Several other diversity initiatives exist across the corporate legal industry.
However, the legal department’s initiatives directed towards outside advisors are only one piece of the puzzle.
This is because of the law firms They exercise less one-sided control over the landscape when it comes to providing legal services. As of the end of 2019, ALSPs had a legal sector of $ 13.9 billion market share, $ 3.2 billion more than the previous two-year period, according to Thomson Reuters. 2021 Alternative Legal Service Providers Report. The report shows that, too 71% of companies are now using ALSPs.
This means that ALSPs are ready to play an important role in the legal industry’s diversity and inclusion efforts. More and more legal departments today Keep track of how their ALSPs are performing in a Conditions of employment, mentoring and promotion of diverse talent. Legal departments can, and indeed should, pay as much attention to diversity when enlisting ALSPs as they have been in the case of hiring law firms..
In fact, it can be said that the legal departments have More power than ever To influence diversity in the profession through their employment decisions. Having options that transcend the traditional divide within the firm / law firm opens the door to the selection of legal service providers who prioritize diversity.
Legal technology also plays an important role in helping legal departments enhance diversity efforts.
from Technology platforms Designed to help organizations achieve greater diversity, inclusiveness and equity within their ranks Artificial intelligence tools That helps users identify and measure bias to build more diverse teams, innovation has begun to take real steps on the diversity front.
If the goal is more diversity and inclusion, then legal departments need to broaden their vision beyond law firms and seek out legal service providers on all fronts who share their commitment to addressing these issues.
Currently, most of them know the benefits ALSP can provide in their cost saving and efficiency departments, but its importance does not end there.
ALSP can make a big difference when you look to diversify your legal representation.
In 2020, for example, Paragon Legal hired more than 100 client contract attorneys. More than 60% of these attorneys are women, and more than 40% are ethnic minorities.
At Paragon Legal, we are very proud of our diversity, but we also know there is more work to be done.
By expanding employee selection beyond hiring a law firm or keeping things at home, not only are legal departments empowered to make better business decisions, they also have new ways to make a real difference to the diversity of the industry.