Legal Profession

Internships: The Solution to Racial and Ethnic Discrepancy in the Legal Field


Bria Saunders

Document Type

Law Review Article

Publication Date



lawyer demographics, race and ethnicity, gender, implicit bias in the legal profession, legal internships


Although the world is much more progressive than it once was, many law firms struggle to change a culture that historically favors white male attorneys at every level. This has resulted in a huge lack of diversity in the legal profession. Unfortunately, diversity diminishes even further as one moves up on the ladder of success. Achieving full diversity would mean that various groups are represented in legal education and in the legal profession, according to their percentage in the general population. However, this is not the case for Black or African American associates. According to the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), "for the first time since the Great Recession the percent of Black or African-American associates in large law firms has finally 'eclipsed', the percent measured in 2009."

However, the increase is minuscule. It has taken Black associates more than ten years to increase their population size by one-tenth of a percentage point. The lack of Black attorneys hired by law firms is an unfortunate reality that is often overlooked. The legal field cannot successfully bring progressive change in the world if it is largely made up of a homogenous, white, male majority. To bring about progressive change, the discrepancy between the white majority and the racial or ethnic minority in the legal profession must be reduced. Such change can begin by providing individuals of racial and ethnic backgrounds with job opportunities. Specifically, this begins with offering law students of diverse backgrounds with internships.