Since 2011, there has been a modest decrease in African American representation in the legal profession. Approximately 4.7 percent of all lawyers are Black, according to The American Bar Association.
With only 10.6% of the whole legal profession being made up of African Americans, the same stark gap is present throughout the entire sector, according to Bloomberg. The terrible truth may be a result of poor retention and a loss in representation among other industry sectors.
The discouraging statistics serve as a reminder that the legal profession—from legal associates and attorneys all the way up to the federal judiciary—still has a long way to go in fostering diversity and visibility inside and outside of the courtroom. By breaking through obstacles in the cutthroat sector, change-makers are fortunately at work.
Meet Rana Coleman, the founder and CEO of RSColeman & Associates, LLC, a staffing business that aims to aid minorities and people of color in locating jobs in the legal sector.
Coleman, who has worked as a lawyer for almost 15 years, enthused about the company's representation and equal rights goals during a recent interview with Black News.
Coleman graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy with a law degree as well as a bachelor's degree. She rose up the legal ranks by applying her grit and willpower to a variety of legal positions, but as she did so, the committed lawyer started to observe a lack of diversity in the field as a whole.
Despite the fact that the sector has grown significantly over the years, Coleman said she intends to have an influence, particularly among Black women who are presently underrepresented in the area.
She said that three percent of attorneys are black women, and many of them decide to leave the profession due to a lack of opportunities.
In addition, the Chicago-based staffing service will collaborate with corporations and law firms around the country to hire more diverse candidates and to develop internship and legal jobs for minorities.
The entrepreneur went on to say that "diversity and inclusion shouldn't just be a catchphrase; it needs to be put into practice."
The judiciary will be made more diverse, according to President Biden.
Thankfully, the President Biden administration made some significant adjustments to the federal judiciary over the past year to assist diverse federal courtrooms and, more recently, the supreme court bench. The first African American woman to hold a bench position on the Supreme Court was Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was appointed in April.
As was previously noted, Biden, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, promised to increase racial diversity in the judiciary by selecting candidates from various ethnic groups. Jackson wasn't the only Black woman elected to a federal position; numerous others were as well. Former patent lawyer Tiffany Cunningham was chosen in August 2021 to be a United States Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals, representing the Federal Circuit. The Seventh Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals inducted Candace Jackson-Akiwumi in July 2021.