It’s no secret that African American lawyers are under-represented in top law firms and corporations. Despite initiatives to improve diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, the latest statistics don’t show much of an improvement. In fact, only 2% of partners at large law firms are African American.

This number suggests that there is still much work to do when it comes to increasing diversity in the legal profession. Fortunately, organizations such as Corporate Counsel Women of Color, Bloomberg Law and Law.com have provided platforms to discuss race, diversity and the law.

Black Lawyers Speak: Stories of the Past, Hope for the Future is a five-part podcast series by Bloomberg Law. This podcast features dozens of interviews with African American legal professionals. These include general counsel, AM 200 law firm chairs, professors, deans and law school students. Here is an overview of the Black Lawyers Speak Podcast series.

Hosts:  Lisa Helem, Executive Editor of Strategic Initiatives and Adam Allington, Senior Audio Journalist

Where You Can Find the Black Lawyers Speak Series: Uncommon Law Podcast (Bloomberg Industry Group); Apple AppStore, Google Play

Podcast Episodes:

  • Introduction
  • Black Lawyers Speak Episodes 1 – 5

<b>Primary Focus of the Black Lawyers Speak Podcast:</b> To offer fresh perspectives on how the business of law intersects with corporate culture and social justice.

Topics include:

  • The costs of disruption of the status quo in the legal profession
  • Why Big Law has struggled to hire and promote Black attorneys
  • How the sacrifices of Black law professors and leaders helped new attorneys
  • African American attorneys recount personal experiences at elite law firms
  • The challenges of changing corporate and law firm cultures
  • Is diversity and inclusion in the legal profession possible?
  • How to evaluate diversity progress in the law
  • Are law firms and corporations committed to addressing diversity issues?
  • Why aren’t diversity and inclusion efforts attracting more persons of color in the legal profession?
  • How can law schools hold Big Law accountable to address diversity and inclusion in the legal profession?
  • What barriers prevent African American students from getting into top-ranked law firms in the United States?
  • What are the future implications for a legal profession that lacks diversity and inclusion?

Podcast participants include:

  • Wendell Taylor, Managing Partner of Hunton Andrews Kurth (Washington Office)
  • Ben Wilson, Chairman of Beveridge & Diamond
  • Patricia Brown Holmes, Managing Partner of Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila
  • Danielle Holley-Walker, Dean of Howard University School of Law
  • Maja Hazell, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at White & Case
  • John Daniels, Chairman Emeritus of Quarles & Brady
  • David Wilkins, Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession – Harvard Law School
  • Tonya West, Chief Legal Officer at Uber
  • Warren Allen, Founding Member of WTAII PLLC
  • Elie Mystal, Justice Correspondent at The Nation
  • Kinika Young, Senior Director of Health Policy and Advocacy at Tennessee Justice Center
  • Kim Rivera, President of Strategy and Business Management and Chief Legal Officer – HP
  • Chaka Patterson, Senior Vice President and General Counsel
  • Raquiyya Pippens, Partner at Arnold & Porter
  • L. Song Richardson, Dean and Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law
  • Tsedale Melaku, Sociologist, Critical Race and Gender Scholar
  • Merle Vaugh, Managing Director and National Law Firm Diversity Practice Leader at Major, Lindsey & Africa
  • Rachel Barnes, Law Student, University of Virginia School of Law, Chair of the National Black Law Students Association

Explore more topics about diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

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