We feel the lawyers in our firm should reflect the diversity of our community, should reflect the clients that we represent, and also the jury’s that we’re going to be arguing our cases in front of and one way to do that is to have more women in the practice.
1. We found out that although 55% of the people coming out of the law schools are women, over 50% of the people in the general population are women. Only about 10% of the lawyers in the trial practice are women. So we set about trying to correct that. Years ago, we made a conscious decision to do this. So our firm today, we have about 25 or 26 lawyers depending, and half of those lawyers are women and we hire the best lawyers, the smartest ones who are going to win the cases.
2. The second way we do that is that we’ve developed a series of scholarships at universities in our community. One is Florida International University, the University of Miami and these are given to women who want to go to trial practice or public service. We’ve done the same thing in my alma mater which is Emory University in Atlanta.
3. We have two scholarships every year that are given to senior students there, women who will just tell us that they’ll go into trial practice and we’ve done the same thing with the American Association for Justice. We give two scholarships every year to the woman who have done extraordinary things and who we believe are going to make a positive difference in our profession. When I started, it was very rare to see any women in trial practice.
There were very few judges on the bench. Today, over half the judges are women. So they reflect in the general population more than the trial lawyers who appear in front of them. There are many reasons for this and I think that women have gradually learned that this is a profession that they can excel at.
And they can still be they can still do all the things that they want to do and be a trial lawyer. A trial lawyer is not a man’s job. It’s a lawyer’s job and like I’ve said before, 55 to 58% of the people coming out of our law schools today are women and we want them to be enthusiastic about believing that they can do a good job in our firm.