Underrepresentation of diverse attorneys within the legal field persists while the industry looks to grow and foster new pools of diverse talent. Goldberg Segalla’s Joseph M. Hanna and Larry E. Waters Jr., both members of the firm’s Diversity Task Force, recently spoke with Buffalo Business First regarding the lack of diversity within the legal industry, and discussed ways to address recruitment and retention of diverse attorneys.
“It can’t just be having it on paper, but you have to do things to truly increase diversity in our field, like going to high schools to introduce them to law or engaging with law students at UB,” Larry said. Larry serves as the current president of the Minority Bar Association, an organization that also helps to further diversity in the legal field.
Joe spoke to the matter of retention of diverse attorneys and the importance of career advancement and growth. “If you don’t elevate [diverse attorneys] and make them partners, it’s far more difficult for them to generate business and to bring about change or to start earning the salaries that they deserve.”
To put our philosophy and commitment into practice, we have a Diversity Task Force in place to conceptualize and implement diversity-focused programs as well as give diversity a voice in our decision-making at the highest level. The individuals on this task force share the firm’s strong commitment to increasing diversity, and they use their unique experiences and backgrounds to support and advance that goal. The team meets regularly to create programs, schedule events, establish diversity initiatives both inside and outside of the firm, set long-term goals, and develop the strategy to recruit and retain people from diverse backgrounds.