Dec. 2 2019

Vernon DunbarThis month, we highlight Vernon Dunbar, a workers’ compensation attorney located in the firm’s Greenville office and committee member of Belong @ MGC.

Vernon Dunbar has been practicing law for the last 32 years. With decades of experience, what attracted him to MGC? The geographical diversity, allowing for a larger impact and footprint in the industry, he says. With 16 offices across six states, MGC provides the opportunity to connect with attorneys and clients outside of your home state; but it travels beyond just that. Geographical diversity allows you to reach those from different walks of life.

Diversity is more than just ethnicity or gender; it’s also experiences, culture and background, Dunbar adds. 

According to NALP’s 2018 Report on Diversity in US Law Firms, there are positive and negative results when parsing their data by geography. “…while progress towards greater diversity and inclusion among lawyers in US law firms continue to be made, and underlying population demographics play a role, much, much work remains to be done,” says their Executive Director, James Leipold. In 2018, NALP reported that only 16.10% of total lawyers in the US were minorities, and 8.08% were minority women. Geographical impact ranges, too. “Miami, for instance, stands alone with its law firms reporting a higher percentage of minority partners [and associates]…” Leipold says. “On the other hand, Boston law firms report minority partner and associate numbers well below the national mean…”

When addressing the challenges that the legal industry is facing when it comes to diversity, Vernon Dunbar sees an opportunity for improving how law firms recruit minorities; tactics must change, Dunbar says, and, in his opinion, it starts from the top. Dunbar recommends that key stakeholders, and other top influencers within an organization, be made aware of the positive impact of diversity. They need to be on board with seeing and supporting change, he adds, because diversity is an opportunity for organizational growth and the ability to better serve clients.