The legal profession is arguably one of the least diverse in the world and, in many respects, can also be one of the slowest to change. Law firms have traditionally recruited from a select pool of candidates, with greater opportunities generally afforded to those with a foot in the door under the illusion of meritocracy.
But change is underway. Organisations around the globe are waking up to the fact that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) breeds creativity, talent and output. Therefore, it is in everyone’s best interest to create an inclusive workplace that acknowledges, appreciates and supports individuals who have historically been sidelined or othered based on their gender, race, sexual orientation, age, disability, neurodiversity or socioeconomic background.
Offering pro bono services and collaborating with the types of charities and organisations highlighted in this report is one way to improve systems and opportunities. Questioning existing processes and acting as mentors and allies to those around us is another.
This is happening more and more – perhaps helped by the fact that intellectual property is a naturally creative area of law; if anyone can steer the ship for the legal profession, it is us.
But there is still a long way to go. We all – whether representing law firms, corporates, IP service providers, IP offices or IP associations – have a responsibility and an opportunity to create meaningful change, both within the IP community and those groups that surround us. Conscious and unconscious biases are continually cited as the biggest hurdles to a genuinely inclusive industry. We can only progress if we challenge these by challenging ourselves to have open and honest conversations. It is WTR’s hope that this report contributes to that conversation.