The trial lawyer community is strengthened when it follows through on commitments to diversify the profession. Historically, many barriers have existed to impede and deny minority attorneys opportunities to succeed in the field of law, from a lack of access to legal education to a dearth of minority mentors to discriminatory recruitment, retention and promotion practices.
PCVA is proud to be a member of the American Association of Justice (AAJ), an organization that is encouraging its member firms to make a sincere commitment to minority attorney representation by signing the Pledge to Act. The Pledge to Act arises from the moral necessity to increase racial diversity and inclusivity among the trial lawyer cohort. According to AAJ:
The trial lawyer community must ensure that our belief in fairness and justice for all extends into our workplaces. In diverse and equitable workplaces, AAJ member firms will gain a broader set of experiences, ideas, perspectives, and solutions to become better advocates for clients and to strengthen their practices.
PCVA agrees with AAJ and emphatically signs the Pledge to Act, which can be read in full at the end of this post.
“The firm stands in solidarity with AAJ and its members who have signed the pledge to recruit, retain and promote minority trial lawyers at their firms,” said managing partner Tom Vertetis. “Not only should we strive for equitable access to justice, but we must also strive for racial diversity and inclusivity within the profession.”
PCVA associate Patrick Brown serves as a Washington State Minority Representative to AAJ. As a minority trial lawyer, he knows first-hand the challenges that racial minorities face as they navigate their careers in law. He also understands the important role racial diversity plays in forging a trusting and confident attorney-client relationship.
“I am excited that PCVA has signed the AAJ Member Firm Pledge to Act and is committed to diversifying the legal profession,” Patrick said. “Many of our clients come from diverse backgrounds and may feel uncomfortable when their attorney does not look like them or does not understand the cultural differences that come with being a minority member. Additionally, diversifying law firms establishes a greater sense of inclusion for minority attorneys. For example, I have been practicing law for four years and have handled hundreds of cases. However, in only three of my cases did opposing counsel look like me. That says a lot about our legal profession.”
“AAJ has taken the initiative to encourage law firms across the country to diversify law firms and to be more inclusive,” Patrick said. “Having a more diverse legal community that is more representative of those individuals we serve is paramount to facilitate diversity, equity and inclusion. It is no secret that minority members face many more barriers when entering the legal community, and the first step to help facility inclusion is by removing those barriers and making a more cognizant effort to hire more diverse attorneys. I encourage all firms in our state to follow PCVA and to sign the AAJ Member Firm Pledge to Act and to commit to diversifying the legal community.”
The AAJ Member Firm Pledge to Act
Recruitment, Retention, and Promotion of Minority Attorneys
Diversity and inclusivity are deeply rooted values of the American Association for Justice. AAJ is committed to promoting and cultivating diversity among the trial lawyer community and ensuring diversity among its membership and its leadership. AAJ believes that a strong trial lawyer community can only be achieved through diversity and by focusing on inclusion and a commitment to integration and engagement of minority lawyers.
In furthering its commitment to diversity in the legal profession, we ask our member firms to sign this Pledge to Act, which affirms the signatory firm’s commitment to professional diversity by inclusion of qualified minority trial lawyers in the signatory’s own law firms.
Sign the Pledge and join your fellow trial lawyers who have affirmed their commitment to enhancing inclusion and opportunities for qualified minority lawyers through recruitment, retention, and promotion.
AAJ members agree to perform, through thoughtful discussion, implementation, and maintenance, initiatives to foster diversity and inclusion in our firms and agree to implement creative and workable solutions to issues that have an adverse impact on the recruitment, retention, and promotion of attorneys from underrepresented groups at all professional levels.
As part of its commitment to those deeply rooted values, AAJ members pledge to make every effort to increase representation of minorities in their firms. AAJ members pledge to make every effort to increase minority attorneys in their firms by focusing on recruiting, hiring, and promoting qualified minority trial lawyers.
AAJ members further pledge to encourage the retention and advancement of qualified minority lawyers once they join their law firms by adopting training, mentoring, and policies that foster opportunities to succeed.
AAJ members agree to conduct and/or attend anti-discrimination and elimination of bias trainings in their law firms, if needed; and adopt policies regarding the same.
AAJ members will encourage and empower attorneys to organize and participate in events, activities, and programs that are consistent with a commitment to recruitment, retention, and promotion of qualified minority trial lawyers.
AAJ members will encourage their attorneys to mentor minority lawyers, students, and law graduates.