Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 23

SIDEBAR

for the purpose of "going public" if they don't
meet the investment bank's diversity
requirements.

study time. These students hold skills that many
of their colleagues with higher grades often lack,
yet they are excluded from the process.

Clients are demanding that more diverse law
firms handle their business or legal matters, and
hiring partners are struggling with how to find
diverse talent that will stay at the firm for the
long term. Thus far, the going has been difficult,
to say the least. So, what are legal hiring professionals to do? One option is to scrap the use
of so-called predictive assessments and look
for tools that utilize race-, gender-, and
demographics-neutral methodologies of
psychometric analysis. This can be done by
focusing on candidate personality traits, not
types. Using objective, demographically neutral
psychometric assessments will generate data
that firms can use to craft highly reliable and
accurate predictive models that hold the key to
solving the diversity issue in the legal industry.

The objective of a model such as this would
be to rely on personality traits that have been
statistically proven to be predictive of success
within the legal profession and specific
practice groups. If the top rainmakers in a firm
all share strong motivational, enterprising,
or social personality traits, it would stand
to reason that these traits are critical factors
in evaluating talent.

Focusing on traits can finally elucidate the
solution so many legal employers have been
seeking. Traits are universal. Some groups
express these traits more so than others, but
GPA and rank do not accurately reflect these
traits, and therefore their prominence in the
hiring model should be reduced. This modification seeks to avoid artificially selecting individuals who possess "intangible skills" that
are more relevant to the business of law. For
instance, business development, client service,
and brand management are very advantageous
skills to help firms generate enough business to
impress the partnership committee.
Creating a hiring model that utilizes non-biased,
demographically neutral psychometric data will
provide a more equitable hiring process for all
candidates, especially those from underrepresented minority or socioeconomic groups. Many
minority law students or students from disadvantaged backgrounds do not necessarily have
access to tools that more privileged students
take for granted. Many who are first-generation
law students, or who must work to pay for part of
their education, often have to sacrifice precious

iStock

Can this be done? Yes. In fact, my team here at
Florida State University College of Law has been
working on this project for the past two years,
with some promising initial results. Our research
has proven that using demographically neutral
psychometric assessments can lead to the
creation of a highly accurate predictive model
that can quantify fit in the litigation and transactional areas of law. The overall accuracy of our
model is 72 percent. It is 70 percent accurate
in terms of projecting fit for litigators, and 74
percent accurate for transactional attorneys. FSU
Law is excited about these results and equally
eager to continue our research and expand upon
what we have already built.
In closing, I'd like to speak directly to the law
firm hiring managers and partners who are
reading this article. Please do not shy away from
diversity in these troubling times. After the fallout
of the Great Recession, the numbers of diversity
hires laid off by law firms were staggering.
According to LexisNexis, the percentage of
African American attorneys who were laid off
during the 2009-2010 period was 13 percent.
The number of Hispanic and Asian lawyers
dropped by 9 percent, and the number of black
non-partners fell by 16 percent.10
This cannot happen again. Our field is at a
critical juncture in its history. We stand on the
precipice of truly transformative times from the
overall business model to now having a real,
honest-to-goodness opportunity to bring some

desperately needed diversity into the industry.
Law firms and corporations need to maintain
their commitment to diversity even in these
trying times. When this recessionary period is
over, those firms that have adhered to their
overall commitment to build a more diverse
team will stand head and shoulders above the
competition.
Change is coming to the legal industry. It is
up to all of us to ensure this change includes
everyone, not just the chosen few with the
highest grades.
Thomas Latino is manager of employer development at Florida State University College of Law.
NOTES
1 "School Rank and GPA Aren't the Best Predictors
of BigLaw Success," abajournal.com/news/article/
school_rank_and_gpa_arent_the_best_predictors_
of_biglaw_success.
2 Guyatt, G., Walter, S., Shannon, H., Cook, D., Jaeschke,
R., & Heddle, N. "Basic Statistics for Clinicians: 4.
Correlation and Regression. Canadian Medical
Association Journal (1995), pp. 497-504.
3 Bienias, E., Costales, S., Lynch, C., Pham, T., Rodman,
R., & Rosenwald, L. Implicit Bias in the Legal Profession
(2017), pp. 1-28, Intellectual Property Owners
Association.
4 Negowetti, N. "Implicit Bias and the Legal Profession's
'Diversity Crisis': A Call for Self-Reflection. 15 Nevada
Law Journal 930 (2015), pp. 930-958.
5 Bogden, M. & Rieke, A. Help Wanted: An Examination
of Hiring Algorithms, Equity, and Bias (2018), pp. 1-75.
Upturn.
6 Id.
7 Id.
8 "Corporate Clients Demand More Diversity From
Law Firms," americanbar.org/groups/litigation/
publications/litigation-news/business-litigation/
corporate-clients-demand-more-diversity-law-firms.
9 Id.
10 "Which New Attorneys Are Hit Hardest by Layoffs?"
lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/lexis-hub/b/careernews-and-trends/posts/which-new-attorneys-arehit-hardest-by-layoffs.

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WASHINGTON LAWYER 23


https://www.abajournal.com/news/article/school_rank_and_gpa_arent_the_best_predictors_of_biglaw_success https://www.abajournal.com/news/article/school_rank_and_gpa_arent_the_best_predictors_of_biglaw_success https://www.abajournal.com/news/article/school_rank_and_gpa_arent_the_best_predictors_of_biglaw_success https://www.americanbar.org/groups/litigation/publications/litigation-news/business-litigation/corporate-clients-demand-more-diversity-law-firms/ https://www.americanbar.org/groups/litigation/publications/litigation-news/business-litigation/corporate-clients-demand-more-diversity-law-firms/ https://www.americanbar.org/groups/litigation/publications/litigation-news/business-litigation/corporate-clients-demand-more-diversity-law-firms/ https://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/lexis-hub/b/career-news-and-trends/posts/which-new-attorneys-are-hit-hardest-by-layoffs https://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/lexis-hub/b/career-news-and-trends/posts/which-new-attorneys-are-hit-hardest-by-layoffs

Washington Lawyer - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - June 2020

YOUR VOICE
FROM OUR PRESIDENT
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
BAR BUSINESS: BUDGET REPORT
MEET GEOFFREY M. KLINEBERG: 49TH PRESIDENT OF THE D.C. BAR
MOVING THE NEEDLE ON LAW FIRM DIVERSITY
THE 2020 JOHN PAYTON LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
JAMES SANDMAN GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
LAW & SERVICE: OAG CONNECTS TO THE COMMUNITY
ON FURTHER REVIEW
THE LEARNING CURVE
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
WORTH READING
ATTORNEY BRIEFS
DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
THE PRO BONO EFFECT
SPECIAL SECTION: UNFINISHED FIGHT
LAST WORD
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 4
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - YOUR VOICE
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - FROM OUR PRESIDENT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 7
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 9
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - BAR BUSINESS: BUDGET REPORT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MEET GEOFFREY M. KLINEBERG: 49TH PRESIDENT OF THE D.C. BAR
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MOVING THE NEEDLE ON LAW FIRM DIVERSITY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE 2020 JOHN PAYTON LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - JAMES SANDMAN GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - LAW & SERVICE: OAG CONNECTS TO THE COMMUNITY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - ON FURTHER REVIEW
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE LEARNING CURVE
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - WORTH READING
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - ATTORNEY BRIEFS
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE PRO BONO EFFECT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 48
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - SPECIAL SECTION: UNFINISHED FIGHT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 51
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - LAST WORD
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover4
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