It’s never made sense to us that all of the focus of DEI comms and programming would be on attorneys; it reinforces a “caste” system in which attorneys are privileged and everyone else is secondary. But big firms couldn’t function without all the staff to support the work itself through technical and support functions, not to mention sales and the physical environment. While staff are included in holiday parties and community events, they usually have separate compensation structures and benefits, and are excluded from DEI reporting, initiatives, and firm communications.

There are three categories of staff in most firm: professional (marketing, IT, finance, business development, communications), administrative or support (reception, assistants, word processing and proofreading), and facilities (cleaning, building maintenance).

Here are three ways firms could be more inclusive of staff:

1. Track and report on representation within the staff, especially at the leadership levels. Develop recruiting materials targeted to candidates for staff roles and create initiatives to ensure more diversity beyond gender parity, with a focus on management roles. Take steps to break down stereotypes that still pervade law firm admin and facilities hiring practices (e.g. receptions are predominantly women while maintenance staff are mostly male).

2. Invite staff in inclusion networks and encourage participation in education programs that address bias and structures of inequity. Too often, social events that celebrate cultural diversity are aimed only at attorneys; imagery on firm websites and in campaigns reflects this division, which deprives staff from sharing their stories and experiences.

3. Include staff images in communications campaigns such as spotlights during cultural heritage months, success stories in a dedicated recruiting section on the website, and in regular social media every day. Staff are part of the community, culture, and success of a firm—showcase and celebrate their stories alongside the attorneys.

Three Furies recently published an extensive report on DEI comms at US law firms. You can view it here

Three Furies is a certified woman-owned business, brand, and content strategy agency with deep experience in the legal marketing sector, including digital marketing analysis, brand and digital design, communications strategy, and advertising campaigns.