Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 14

FEATURE

Increasing Diversity
& Inclusion
IN THE LEGAL
PROFESSION

By Eric S. Steiner

I

n 2014, at the age of 36, Associate Judge Zuberi
Bakari Williams became one of the youngest judges
in the history of the state's judiciary. Born in
Washington, D.C., and raised in Maryland, Williams
served as assistant attorney general for the District
of Columbia, and then as administrative law judge at the
Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings.

Shortly after he was appointed to the District Court of Maryland for
Montgomery County, Williams, who is African American, remembers
going into his office wearing a hoodie and being questioned by court
staff about his identity.
Williams, wearing his photo ID lanyard around his neck, recalls being
confused at what was happening in that moment. " I wasn't sure what
was happening. It wasn't until later that I thought about it. I wasn't upset
or angry with the bailiff; I don't think he, she, or they meant any harm.
But these are the types of microaggressions that serve as reminders that
because of who I am, what I look like, some folks think I do not belong in
this space. Even if it's my chambers, " says Williams, a former white collar
criminal defense attorney at Venable.
Gregory Wells, a partner at Shadoan, Michael & Wells, LLP whose career
spans over three decades, can relate. Early in his career, Wells says courtroom deputies would ask him if he was " looking for his lawyer. " Wells is
also African American.
Though gains have been made over the past decade or so, few people
can persuasively argue that the legal profession is adequately diverse
and unbiased. Initiatives may have opened the door for minorities,
including people of color, women, LGBTQ individuals, and those with
disabilities,1 but studies show they remain underrepresented at the
partner level.
For example, a survey conducted by the National Association for Law
Placement, Inc. reported that in 2018 " just one in five equity partners
were women (19.6 percent) and only 6.6 percent were racial/ethnic
minorities. " The study is consistent with the one conducted by the
National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), which found that
between 2017 and 2019, women remained at about 20 percent of equity
partners in law firms.

Maximilian Franz

JUDGE ZUBERI WILLIAMS

14

WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

MARCH/APRIL 2021

It is surprising that lack of diversity continues to pervade the legal profession, not just because correcting it is the right thing to do, but also
because there is a " statistically significant connection between diversity
and financial performance, " 2 and clients are asking their law firms to
" detail how many diverse lawyers they employ and whether those
lawyers are assigned meaningful work. " 3
Psychologists have pinpointed one reason for this lack of progress:
implicit bias. Changing the status quo in the legal profession will require
an understanding of this bias and fostering of inclusive work culture.



Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021

Digital Extras
From Our President
Calendar of Events
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
Staying Put in Big Law feature
A Sisterhood of Latina Lawyers Sidebar
Increasing Diversity & Inclusion the the Legal Profession feature
Cultivate Mentorships sidebar
A Tribute to Judge June L. Green feature
Delicate Balance for Black Women Attorneys in Government Feature
Falling Short on Disability Inclusion feature
Elusive Justice in Violence Against Native Women feature
Worth Reading
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight - Marcia Madsen
Member Spotlight - Simon Zinger
ABA Delegates Corner
Attorney Briefs
Speaking of Ethics
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Effecy
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 5
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Staying Put in Big Law feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 11
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - A Sisterhood of Latina Lawyers Sidebar
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 13
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Increasing Diversity & Inclusion the the Legal Profession feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 15
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cultivate Mentorships sidebar
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 17
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - A Tribute to Judge June L. Green feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 19
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 20
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 21
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Delicate Balance for Black Women Attorneys in Government Feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 23
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 24
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 25
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Falling Short on Disability Inclusion feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 27
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 28
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 29
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Elusive Justice in Violence Against Native Women feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 31
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 32
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 34
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 35
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Member Spotlight - Marcia Madsen
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Member Spotlight - Simon Zinger
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 40
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 41
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - ABA Delegates Corner
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 45
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 47
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - The Pro Bono Effecy
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 49
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 50
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 51
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover4
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