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Editorial: Culture of Inclusion

Editorial: Culture of Inclusion

By Alice Cooney


In August 2018, Netflix hired Vernā Myers in a newly created role as vice president of Inclusion Strategy for the company. Myers, who has practised in this area for more than two decades, said to the Cleveland Bar Association in 2016 that: “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance”.

To be inclusive is the hardest and most rewarding task a young lawyer can accomplish. You might think it is your law degree, or maybe landing the perfect graduate role, or a promotion to a more senior position title, but all of that means little without a supportive community. When you are admitted to the profession, you are joining the legal community – a group of people who have sworn or affirmed their commitment to upholding the values and obligations required as a lawyer and an officer of the court. By its nature, the privilege of becoming a lawyer is accessing a pretty exclusive community on its own. The challenge then is to invite and include as many members to join and grow in our legal community.

In part, the difficulty with achieving inclusiveness is to identify where and how it is being missed. Often people who feel left out won’t express that view in the public, for fear of further alienation. As a YL community, we can focus on ensuring access and inclusiveness to our group is encouraged, and we can be innovative in how we can expand our reach and impact. Whether that be with changes in our language, improving the use of technology, or just knowing how to communicate with people who identify differently from us.

This edition is focused on the triumphs and challenges in working to support access to justice and reinforcing a culture of inclusion in the law. The stories and interviews here are intended to empower those in legal practice and studying law to recognise how simple adjustments can have lasting positive outcomes.

ALICE COONEY is a solicitor in the trial division of the Office of Public Prosecutions and chair of the LIV YL Editorial Committee.

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