Solving the Legal Profession's Diversity Problem

13 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2016

See all articles by William D. Henderson

William D. Henderson

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2016


Among both diverse and white lawyers, there is a widespread perception that the legal profession's lack of diversity is due to a lack of moral resolve. As a result, each successive generation of leadership pledges to deepen its level of commitment. This article argues that the lack of progress is attributable to a systems problem rather than a moral deficit. A careful examination of relevant data reveal that the biggest areas of bottleneck are hiring, work allocation, and lawyer development systems that are rooted in tradition and past practice and rather than science. The evidence suggests that if we design and implement better systems, out the other side will flow successful diverse lawyers in roughly the same proportion as the number we managed to hire several years earlier.

Keywords: Diversity, Law Firms, Lawyer Development, Lawyer Selection

Suggested Citation

Henderson, William D., Solving the Legal Profession's Diversity Problem (February 1, 2016). PD Quarterly (Feb 2016); Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 335. Available at SSRN:

William D. Henderson (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
812-856-1788 (Phone)
812-855-0555 (Fax)

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