My social justice presentation was about women of color not being able to get into the Intellectual Property (hereinafter referred to as “IP”) world of law. IP Law is dominated by white men. Women of color have literally no seat at the table. We have been discriminated against from an intersectional trichotomy of being woman, being minority, and being a minority woman. We are not given equal opportunity to enter the IP industry. In fact, most of the major IP law firms that claim to champion diversity are not inclusive of women of color. They target Asian males or White women to meet their diversity mantras. Well, what about women of color? Why is it so hard for us to break into the world of law that needs us the most? We are often overlooked for positions in IP law. This is a problem because IP is an expanding field, however with that growth we do not see a growth in the number of women of color attorneys entering the industry. IP law needs women of color because the clientele is changing. People of color are opening, operating and representing businesses. These clients either want people who represent them and their interests or want to retain a firm that has a representation of the real world. Women of color can also bring in fresh ideas and perspectives unique to their culture and environment. This allows for a more effective work atmosphere. It also gives a firm the opportunity to hear all different aspects when seeking a solution or a pitch to secure a client. The best way to break this chain of excluding women of color is to implement a mentorship program and professional development program. Mentors are the key to entering IP firms. By having a mentor, you are given the opportunity to not only learn about the industry, but you have someone to shadow. Mentors can open doors that otherwise may exclude you. Professional development is also another huge factor to help women of color enter the industry. Networking events are a major way of being introduced to the industry leaders in the IP field. Also, big businesses, who rely on major IP firms to handle their needs, can also help women of color by requiring that firms ensure true diversity and inclusivity by hiring a truly diverse field, which includes women of color. If we can get these businesses to demand that these firms include women of color in their “diversity” dynamic, then the firms would be obligated to hire women of color. Women of color deserve a seat at the table in the world of IP law. We have so much to offer, yet few opportunities to prove ourselves.
Resources are the following articles: American Bar Association: Diversifying Intellectual Property Law, Minority Women are Disappearing from Big Law, Women Make up Majority of U.S. Law School