Initiative Hopes To Open Law To More Diverse Lawyers
A new initiative aims to find future diverse lawyers while they are still in high school.
Thrive Scholars, an LA-based non-profit organization that aims to help high-achieving, low-income underrepresented students get into and graduate from top colleges, announced that it launched a new track to offer a greater talent pipeline of Black and Latinx attorneys to top law firms, Bloomberg Law reports.
“We created Thrive Scholars Law because there is potential for a deeper pipeline of students of color attending law schools, and there is a hunger among law firms to increase diversity in the legal profession,” Steve Stein, CEO of Thrive Scholars, says in a press release. “
LACK OF DIVERSITY
Diversity has always been severely lacking in the law industry.
Black attorneys made up only 3.2% of the lawyers across roughly 400 law firms studied, according to an NALP report.
In a 2018 paper for the ABA, Allison E. Laffey, an associate with Laffey, Leitner & Goode LLC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Allison Ng, an associate with Greenberg Traurig, LLP in Atlanta, Georgia, discussed diversity and inclusion in the law and the challenges and initiatives that face the industry as a whole.
“There have been decades of diversity efforts, and studies have shown, time and time again, that diversity is good for business,” the authors write. “Yet, gender and other diversity in partnership and corporate leadership positions remain low. This leads one to wonder what role a lack of diversity at the senior level plays in the lack of diversity throughout the profession.”
THRIVE SCHOLARS APPROACH
Thrive Scholars’ mission is to help high-achieving, low-income underrepresented students get into and graduate from top colleges.
The organization recruits high-performing high school juniors for a six-week academic bootcamp that consists of daily calculus and writing courses.
Roughly 40% of Thrive Scholars students go on to attend Ivy League colleges. Almost every single Thrive Scholar student attends a top 50 university, according to Stein.
In its newly created Law Track, the organization will connect students to a sponsoring law firm. Students are paired with partner or associate mentors at the firm and gain access to internship opportunities once in college.
The hope is to offer opportunities post law school to more Black and Latinx students.
“Thrive Scholars’ approach is unique in that it focuses early and intensively on advanced writing and math skills, and it has a track record of increasing the number of Black and Latinx students who can get to their senior year of college with the grades they need to get into top law schools and get jobs at top law firms when they graduate,” Peter Zeughauser, chair of law firm consultancy Zeughauser Group, says in a statement.