January 01, 2012

Diversity in Environmental Practice: How Are We Doing?

Paula J. Schauwecker

Environmental law as a focused practice area is young. Having begun in the 1970s, it is now welcoming the second generation of environmental lawyers to the practice. There are many ways the legal profession has changed in the last 35 years and progress has been made in bringing more diverse attorneys into the profession, but some would say that the environmental practice area is behind others in terms of measurable progress in adding diverse attorneys to its ranks. Although I am not aware of any formal study that confirms that observation, informal conversations with colleagues and diversity professionals certainly do not contradict the notion. I spoke with Ben Wilson, the managing principal at Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., and the first African American to hold that position, to get his perspective on issues concerning diversity in the environmental legal profession. I write this short article to offer a few of my thoughts, and Mr. Wilson’s, on important issues that I hope will become the focus of more dialogue within the Section, and our practice, in the very near future.

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