Diversity Q&A: ‘COVID-19 has already slowed change’


Muireann Bolger

Diversity Q&A: ‘COVID-19 has already slowed change’

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As we start 2021, WIPR asked IP lawyers for their thoughts on the legal sector’s progress in the area of diversity and inclusion, as well as the impact of the pandemic and the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement on these initiatives. Cecilia Sanabria, partner at law firm Finnegan, shares her thoughts.

Is the legal profession doing enough to promote D&I?

The legal profession has taken steps in the form of training and the creation of purposeful programmes to ensure that individuals in a particular group have access to and obtain meaningful opportunities for growth, and much more. But there is always room for improvement and that takes the conscious effort and planning of attorneys at every level in every organisation.

Will the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement accelerate change?

I am hopeful the movement will accelerate change both outside of and within the legal profession, starting by ensuring that people are more open-minded about addressing behaviours they may not have realised existed—so those can be addressed and corrected, both individually and as a society.

What impact will COVID-19 have on D&I efforts?

COVID-19 has already had an impact on D&I efforts: some companies and organisations facing financial pressure during the pandemic put their D&I efforts on hold as they struggled to stay afloat—despite studies showing that companies with diverse leadership generate more revenue than companies without.

diversity, inclusion, Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, Finnegan, pandemic, unconscious bias