July 9, 2018 by Lincoln Derr
Diversity Fatigue is a relatively new term used to describe how corporations immersed in diversity and inclusion initiatives are exhausted by the complexity of realizing measurable change. As such, corporate motivation to continue championing this cause is decreasing.
Diversity fatigue at whatever level and wherever is a ridiculous excuse for not doing what needs to be done: make the profession color-, gender-, disability-, and, yes, I’ll throw it in, age-blind. Getting the profession to where it needs to be is a relay race. Get off the starting block and get going. As we dinosaurs leave the field, we will hand the baton to the next generation of lawyers. They’ll be the ones who can break the tape, if they choose so.
Two steps forward and one step back pretty much sums it up. The Legal Profession is no exception. According to the National Association for Law Placement 2017 findings, “To the extent that broad trends in the data can be identified over the seven-year period, it does appear that the distribution of all partners by equity status has moved, but only in tiny increments, toward a greater representation by women and minorities, just as women and minorities have made small gains in representation among partners as a whole.”
Gains have been slow, but diversity fatigue is threatening to take us back a step. It is up to the legal leaders fighting for diversity and inclusion in the profession to address diversity fatigue and encourage their circles of influence to name it and push through it.
Pledging to accomplish a complex goal is hard. Becoming frustrated with baby steps is natural. Pushing through the pain and getting to the finish line is rewarding. The fight to combat diversity fatigue deserves a second wind.