Our history compels the conclusion that lawyers have an ethical obligation to promote equality and diversity in the legal profession and in society. This obligation translates into a professional duty to undertake affirmative steps to remedy discrimination, eliminate bias and promote equality, diversity and inclusion. Yet the legal profession remains stubbornly nondiverse.
Considering the lack of progress, perhaps we should consider options that require greater efforts be made to ensure that “equality for all” is a principle reflected in our profession. Perhaps it’s time that our rules of professional conduct endorse and adopt an ethical obligation to diversity.
About David L. Douglass
David L. Douglass is the managing partner of the Washington D.C. office of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, LLP. David represents clients in complex investigations and litigation. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Fellowship is extended by invitation only to experienced trial lawyers who’ve mastered the art of advocacy and whose careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality.
Throughout his career, David has championed diversity in the legal profession. He serves on Sheppard Mullin’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and co-chaired the D.C. office’s Diversity and Inclusion Group. He’s on the Advisory Board for the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, an organization comprised of corporations, law firms and attorneys devoted to driving progress toward creating a more inclusive legal profession. In 2015, David received the American Bar Association Health Law Section’s Champion of Diversity and Inclusion Award.