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I wanted to share an interesting guest blog post by Robin Sparkman, Editor in Chief of The American Lawyer in which she questions why law firms are not considering candidates that come from disadvantaged backgrounds. She makes a good point that while firms are actively recruiting minority candidates in terms of race, ethnicity and sexual orientation, economic background is not being considered.
In her blog post, Ms Sparkman writes, "Why can’t The Am Law 200 tackle this issue head-on when it comes to associate recruiting? Why not make identifying and actively recruiting law students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds a priority?" She makes the case that Allen & Overy in the UK has started a program called PRIME which targets students from low socio-economic backgrounds who are interested in practicing law in the future. This is a great idea and one that should be adopted by US law firms.
As the gap between "the have's" and "the have not's" widens in the US, it is becoming increasingly important to make sure that every opportunity is afforded to those students that come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Of course, these associates will have to have the qualifications that any other associate would have in order to perform the work required of them. However, why not afford them extra consideration based upon the fact that they have been able to succeed despite their adverse economic backgrounds.
What is your opinion on this subject? Should law firms in the US develop programs to actively recruit associates from diverse economic backgrounds? Does your firm have such a program in place? Please share your thoughts.