Law Firms Offer Full-Time Employment and Paid Tuition to Underserved
In an attempt to bring diversity to the legal industry, a few law firms are sponsoring full-ride law school scholarships and full-time employment for underserved high school students.
Thompson Hine and Taft Stettinius & Hollister, both Ohio-based law firms, have partnered with the University of Dayton School of Law to give select high schoolers a full scholarship to the law school with paid living expenses, mentoring, and full-time positions at the firms upon graduation, Reuters reports. The university will cover the full cost of tuition with the firms paying two-thirds of an annual $15,000 living stipend and offering summer employment as well as the full-time positions post-grad.
“We’re going to be giving them mentorship and training throughout their law school existence so that they hit the ground running for their summer associate position and for their associate position,” Glen McMurry, a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister tells Reuters.
REACHING DIVERSE TALENT EARLY ON
While many law firms offer summer job opportunities to attract diverse talent to their organizations, few have gone as far as Thompson Hine and Taft Stettinius & Hollister to guarantee full-time employment with paid tuition for law school.
“It’s the Moneyball of legal education,” Dayton Law Dean Andrew Strauss tells Reuters. “We’re going back in and we’re trying to figure out who has that raw talent—before they may even know themselves that they want to apply.”
A WIN-WIN OPPORTUNITY
Like many industries, the legal field lacks diversity. Black attorneys made up only 3.2% of the lawyers across roughly 400 law firms studied, according to a NALP report.
In recent years, however, law firms have begun to strategize how to attract underrepresented talent into their organizations. And many are beginning to realize that having a diverse workforce is not only good for business, but also the right thing to do.
“We like to think we’re locking in somebody,” Wray Blattner, a partner at Thompson Hine, tells Reuters. “That’s good for us. It’s good for our clients. And hopefully, it’s good for the student-soon-to-be lawyer.”