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 that law firms should not just hire Black lawyers, but support them, allow them to fail and learn from their mistakes and allow them to take risks without fear.
• James G. Leipold, Executive Director of the National Association for Law Placement, said the class of 2019 across ABA accredited law schools had about 8.7 percent Black graduates. The employment rate of Black graduates was about five percent below the rest of the class 10 months after graduation, and in jobs that required bar passage nearly 14 percent less than the average.
• Jami McKeon, Chair, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, discussed how her firm and its sponsors create pathways to the legal profession and established a diversity and inclusion committee to implement the firm’s diversity initiatives.
• Christa Brown-Sanford, Partner and Deputy Department Chair of Intellectual Property at Baker Botts, said that putting Black lawyers in positions of power at law firms is long overdue.
• “It is beyond logic that there are not Black partners that register on the percentage scale. “Law firms need to get Black Lawyers into leadership roles.”
The fifth and final panel, “Diverse Pathways to the
Profession: Law Faculty Hiring, the Judiciary, and Judicial Clerkships,” was moderated by Ward Farnsworth, Dean and John Jeffers Research Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of law.
Panelists included:
• Honorable Roger Gregory, Chief Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, said that judges should use less filters when recruiting judicial clerks.
• “How do we keep the pipeline open, moving, fresh and accessible in terms of judicial clerkships? Some judges want clerks from a set of five schools, of a certain ranking and of a certain GPA,” Gregory said. “But there are many wonderful
law.uh.edu
law clerks of color who are beyond top 14 schools, beyond class rank and beyond GPA.”
• Honorable Gregg Costa of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said that only 3.5 percent of federal law clerks are African American and 6.4 of the state law clerks are African American. He said that judges need to commit to interviewing applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds.
• “A clerkship is a sterling credential, and unfortunately the number of minority law clerks is abysmally low,” Costa said. “It’s a challenge for the judiciary to make sure we’re extending these opportunities to more students.”
• Honorable Vanessa Gilmore ’81 of the Southern District of Texas encouraged law school professors to help connect diverse law students with judges and urged judges to be proactive to find a diverse applicant pool for judicial clerkships.
• Chief Justice Nathan Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court said that law schools need to encourage diverse law students to apply for judicial clerkships.
• Dean Daniel Tokaji of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Law said that law schools should create a diversity pipeline for entry level law professors and that law schools must take responsibility for more diversity in legal academia.
• Professor Meera E. Deo, 2020-21 American Bar Foundation William H. Neukom Fellows Research Chair in Diversity and Law, Director of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), and a Professor of Law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, said that just seven percent of law professors today are women of color and eight percent are men of color.
“If you keep doing the same things you’ve been doing, you’re going to get the same results,” Deo said.
  Pathways to the Profession: Hiring for Firms and Corporate Positions Panel
  Diverse Pathways to the Profession: Law Faculty Hiring, the Judiciary, and Judicial Clerkships Panel
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