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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin | Winter 2014

President’s Message Robin Burrell sales, and 53% in return on equity. Research also exists to support the notion that companies with greater racial diversity in leadership positions outperform those with less. According to Cedric Herring’s April 2009 article in American Sociological Review, “Does Diversity Pay?: Race, Gender and the Business Case for Diversity,” the most racially diverse companies earn nearly 15 times more revenue than those that are less racially diverse. Herring’s research concluded that for every percentage point increase in racial or gender diversity up to that represented in the relevant population, sales revenues increased approximately 9% and 3%, respectively. Th e conclusion that Axelrod drew from all of this data is that diversity and inclusion are not simply profi table concepts, but that they have a synergistic impact on profi ts. Finally, Axelrod cited an article by Douglas E. Brayley and Eric S. Nguyen, “Good Business: A Market-Based Argument Ar- for Law Firm Diversity,” in Th e Journal of the Legal Profession in 2009, that studied data from the 200 highestgrossing fi rms (the Am Law 200). Th e article concluded that highly diverse law fi rms reported, on average, much higher profi ts per partner and revenue per lawyer than the rest of the Am Law 200 fi rms. Research abounds to support the argument that incorporating policies of diversity and inclusivity in fi rms and businesses increases the bottom line. Given the dynamic shifts occurring in our population, lawyers and fi rms that recognize and emphasize inclusivity in their practices will be well-served as we move forward. LGBT attorneys. Further, consideration of the diff erences between millennial lawyers and their senior counterparts has now entered the conversation. Th ere are clearly practical and bottom-line driven arguments as to why lawyers and law fi rms should embrace diversity and inclusivity, but perhaps a more fundamental reason lies in “Th e New Colossus,” written by Emma Lazarus (a relative of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Benjamin Cardozo), and engraved and mounted inside Lady Liberty more than 100 years ago: Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command e air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, e wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Our country originated as a refuge of freedom for both its founders and for those who were diff erent from them. Today, these diff erences are even more pronounced, both within our society and our business climate alike. Th e fabric of our juries, clients, colleagues, employees and judiciary continues to change rapidly and drastically, and an acceptance and appreciation of this sea change will inure to the ultimate success of legal practitioners and fi rms. To quote author Stephen R. Covey, “Strength lies in diff erences, not similarities.” I thank you for allowing me to serve you this year, and I look forward to continuing to work with you on behalf of the Birmingham Bar Association. G (Endnotes) 1 Pew Research Center Hispanic Trends Project. 2 Id. 3 American Bar Association Lawyer Demographics. 4 Id. 5 ABA Journal online post, December 17, 2013. 6 ABA Journal online post, July 22, 2014. 7 www.whitehouse.gov/share/judicialnominations. Historically, the concept of diversity within the legal profession has revolved around women and racial minorities. More recently, the issue has broadened to incorporate multicultural, disabled, and Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose ame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand 10 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin | Winter 2014
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