March 05, 2019 Article

#UsToo: Be Part of the Legal Profession’s Positive Response to #MeToo

It is up to us to use our awareness to make positive strides in 2019 and beyond.

By Carla Varriale

The recent “#MeToo” movement has captivated the attention of the public and the media, so much so that the hashtag has become ubiquitous. It has had an indelible impression on every employer and workplace, and the legal profession is no exception. In addition to its tangible impact in our profession—with a renewed interest in sexual harassment and discrimination actions, an increase in requests for guidance on handbooks and policies, and requests for training and legal opinions—there also have been intangible consequences of the movement.

#MeToo has started a valuable conversation about the presence of bias (both conscious and unconscious), discrimination, and harassment in the workplace, and its groundswell has created an opportunity for reflection and action for the legal profession. We are encouraged to examine our own perceptions and behaviors and our own workplaces and culture. #MeToo presents an opportunity to be proactive in addressing bias and discrimination in our workplace. We have #MeToo to thank for creating awareness of the need for change in the legal profession. But it is up to us to use our awareness to make positive strides in 2019 and beyond.

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