Though showing improvement over the years, diversity and inclusion in the paralegal field are not quite on a level that can be considered a complete success story. While inclusion may be more difficult to measure, it is evident that diversity—in a sense that the field is representative of the greater population—has not been fully achieved.
The benefits of diversity and inclusion are apparent for any workplace and are twofold. First, there are some benefits that can be observed in the workplace and among employees. The clearest of these is the innovation and creativity boost associated with diversity and inclusion. Having a diverse office facilitates diverse opinions and ways of solving problems. Second, there is evidence that greater diversity in the workplace can reduce employee turnover, creating a more familiar environment and fostering inclusion.
Although diversity and inclusion provide benefits within the workplace, there are also some to be observed on a higher level. Whether a paralegal is employed in the private or public sector, a diverse workforce improves the legitimacy of the office and, ultimately, its reputation among clients. Providing a closer connection to all clients serves to enhance the quality of the service provided.
Given the many benefits, it would be assumed that diversity and inclusion would be adequately achieved and maintained by all offices and companies. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, particularly among the more senior workforce. So, why is this the case?
The level of diversity and inclusion, of course, depends on the leadership. It is the responsibility of the office, company, or agency leadership to seek a diverse and inclusive workforce and to maintain it. This highlights a key point; namely, this is a long-term process that requires continual maintenance from the upper levels. Without active involvement by key members of any organization, diversity and inclusion are difficult goals to achieve.
Beyond the decisions of key organization members, maintaining a diverse paralegal field requires an interested body of diverse individuals seeking paralegal careers. With more entities diversifying their workforce than ever before—along with the company benefits of employing them—the field of paralegals is promising for many potential career-seekers.
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By: Salem Thomas, EKU Graduate Assistant