Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession (Lucas)
M 4:30PM - 6:30PM
Silverman Hall 240B
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”) are among the most complex and urgent challenges facing the legal profession today. The leaders of every major law firm and legal organization are grappling with the questions we will explore in this course. The class will be beneficial to all students whether you consider yourself “diverse,” an ally, or neither. It will offer students knowledge and skills that every lawyer entering the profession today need to contribute effectively to this profession-wide conversation.
Explore how DEI play roles in the practice of law, the workplace, the legal industry, and the attorney pipeline. Learn how diversity is defined today and whether that has consequences for you regardless of whether or not you are a member of a traditionally under-represented groups in the law. Examine if issues faced by men and women are different and whether having other characteristics (e.g. being a woman of color, LGBTQ+) play roles in your experience in the workplace. Why is recruiting diverse individuals more successful than retaining them. Explore hot topics such as implicit bias, microaggressions, generational diversity, racial injustices, and gender identity. What are affinity groups, should you join one, and should you consider one even if you don’t identify as a member of that group. Understanding the roles of straight white males in DEI. The class will be conducted as a simulation, with students playing the role of law firm associates and the instructor playing the role of a law firm partner together tackling DEI issues in today’s legal field. You will advise “clients” on DEI initiatives and programs; interview recruiters and law school career-services specialists on how they handle DEI; engage diversity professionals on how to best address promote, train and advise on DEI, take an implicit bias test to determine whether you have any biases entering the legal profession; prepare a memorandum on a DEI topic to advise lawyers and other law students; and draft devise a DEI plan for managing partners and general counsels on how to address DEI in their firms and businesses. Along the way, you will be counseled on how your work product can make the legal profession more diverse, equitable and inclusive and how most importantly, navigate a legal career.
Perspectives on the Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of how the law affects, and is affected by, the individual course topic; Perform legal analysis in the context of the individual course topic; Communicate effectively on the legal and other aspects of the individual course topic; Demonstrate the ability to use other disciplines to analyze legal issues relevant to the individual course topic, including economics, philosophy, and sociology, as appropriate.
Equity and Inclusion Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of the varied legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Perform legal analysis in the context of topics related to equity and inclusion; Communicate effectively on the legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Demonstrate an understanding of how equity and inclusion are connected to and affected by a wide variety of legal and regulatory structures and doctrines.