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LP Magazine — Market Share Competition Among Diverse Law Firms Heats Up, and Gets Heated

The cover of the final hard copy issue of Law PracticeThere seemed to be some irony in receiving the final, hard copy, mailed issue of Law Practice magazine in the same week that the U.S. Supreme Court effectively ended race-conscious admission programs at colleges and universities across the country. I won’t get overly political here except to say that I’m not a fan of SCOTUS these days, between these harmful rulings and ridiculously unethical behavior by appointed Justices that I would not welcome at my dinner table. It’s quite sad.

In Market Share Competition Among Diverse Law Firms Heats Up, and Gets Heated, my marketing column in the July/August 2023 issue of Law Practice, I address the state of doling out work to diverse lawyers and law firms—for the first time since my March/April 2017 column—a lot had changed. The first section of the recent column subtitled “Diversity in Reverse,” seemed so apropos after the SCOTUS decision. It already felt like progress that took decades to implement now saw courts turning back the clock. Again, quite sad.

Writing about competing for work in the diversity space was triggered by a joint report last year from the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF) and the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP), “Understanding and Assessing the Use of Minority- and Women-Owned Law Firms by Corporate Clients.” Blend the George Floyd murder in with the COVID world of Zoom and Teams…and you get a picture of the modern landscape of the legal industry. There isn’t even a clear definition anymore of what diversity is, when contemplating the distribution of work.

I’ll be interested to see and hear what is new during the upcoming NAMWOLF Annual Meeting, this September in my hometown of Baltimore—where the Orioles are home (and should be in the thick of a pennant race), there are steamed crabs to be had, and an interesting agenda at the downtown Hilton Hotel overlooking Camden Yards. I’d urge in-house counsel in the region (you attend for free) to consider spending a few days in Charm City.

And as a side note, you may have noticed my reference in the first sentence of this blog post regarding the final, hard copy, mailed issue of Law Practice. You’ve all been able to read the magazine (and my columns) in a digital format for many years now. The combination of the expanded Law Practice Division membership (because of the reworked ABA member model that offers LP membership at no additional charge for all ABA members that want it—and who wouldn’t?), the related costs, and the simple fact that most of us read our hard copy now in a digital format anyway, has all slowly led to this change. As a past chair of LP, I’ve seen lots of ups and downs as we’ve worked through production, advertising, and print/mail cost issues. One of the best parts of moving to digital-only is that our column deadlines are much closer to the publication date—so I can be timelier (and accurate) in bringing you current topics as they related to law firm marketing and business development. It is all a welcome change.

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