Featured Guests
Jerome Crawford

Jerome Crawford is associate general counsel of Horizon Global Corporation, a publicly traded company and world leader in custom...

Tiffany Buckley-Norwood

Tiffany Buckley-Norwood is a principal with Jackson Lewis, P.C., a national labor & employment law firm. She has provided...

Your Host
Kristoffer Butler

Kristoffer Butler is the SBA Executive President at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

Episode Notes

What unique challenges to people of color face in the legal profession and what can be done to effectively address these issues? In this episode of the ABA Law Student Podcast, host Kristoffer Butler talks to Jerome Crawford and Tiffany Buckley-Norwood about how the legal profession can become more welcoming for attorneys of color. They discuss what real efforts for diversity should look like in law firms and encourage all legal professionals to create truly inclusive and accessible firms. They also talk about how law students can reach back into their communities in order to encourage more young people to consider entering law school.

Jerome Crawford is associate general counsel of Horizon Global Corporation.

Tiffany Buckley-Norwood is a principal with Jackson Lewis, P.C., a national labor & employment law firm.

Transcript

ABA Law Student Podcast

Real Changes for Real Diversity: A Discussion On the Efforts for Inclusivity in the Legal World

02/14/2019

[Music]

Intro: Welcome to the official ABA Law Student Podcast, where we talk about issues that affect law students and recent grads. From finals and graduation to the Bar exam and finding a job, this show is your trusted resource for the next big step.

You are listening to the Legal Talk Network.

[Music]

Kristoffer Butler: Hello and welcome to another edition of the ABA Law Student Podcast. My name is Kristoffer Butler, and I am glad to be with you here today. We are going to have a wonderful podcast. Happy Black History Month to everyone.

Today, I have two wonderful guests; Jerome Crawford and Tiffany Buckley-Norwood. My first guest is Jerome Crawford. Jerome is Associate General Counsel for Horizon Global Corporation, a publicly traded company and world leader in custom towing, trailering, and cargo management products.

In this corporate counsel position, he handles an array of issues spanning areas such as compliance, M&A, intellectual property, product liability, employment, and corporate law.

As part of his service to the bar, Jerome serves as President of the Wolverine Bar Association & Foundation and executive council member of both State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers and ACES Sections.

On a national level, he also serves as the member of the National Conferences Team and Men of Color Task Force of the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association.

And besides being an attorney by day, he is also a professional actor, model and comedian.

Thank you for joining us, Jerome.

Jerome Crawford: Thanks for having me, Kris.

Kristoffer Butler: My next guest, Tiffany Buckley-Norwood is a Principal with Jackson Lewis, P.C., a National Labor & Employment Law Firm. She has provided workplace law & diversity counseling to employers for the past 13 years, and is a frequent author and presenter, with over 30 presentations and over 20 published works.

As a part of her service to the Bar and her community, Tiffany serves as the President of the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association (a National Bar Association affiliate), a member of the ABA Labor & Employment Section, the Legislative Chair for Jack & Jill of America Ypsilanti Chapter, and a pro bono attorney for criminal record expungement hearings.

She was recognized as an Up & Coming Lawyer by Michigan Lawyers Weekly in 2015 and as a Best Lawyer in America in 2019.

Thank you for joining us Tiffany.

Tiffany Buckley-Norwood: Thank you for having me.

Kristoffer Butler: I am glad you guys are here. You gave me wonderful bios to read about you guys.

Can you tell our listeners a little bit more about yourselves and the work that you do?

Tiffany Buckley-Norwood: Kris, I think you have covered it fairly comprehensively in my bio, but just a little bit about my practice. I focus on equal employment opportunity, and affirmative action, in particular, those are kind of two sides of the same coin, on the one hand, focusing on making sure people have the opportunities in the workplace but also taking that proactive approach to diversity and inclusion. So our topic today, I think are going to fall right into what I do in my day-to-day basis, both in my personal and my work life.

Jerome Crawford: And just to expand a little bit Kris on what you laid out as Tiffany noted I think the bio does a great job, giving my background. One nugget not included is that, similar to Tiffany I was also in a private practice well before I came into this in-house counsel position at law firm Dickinson Wright. So I got sort of both sides of the coin perspective and what it mean could be private practice, what it means to be an attorney in a private company.

And in my role I am able to also have a global impact. So I think it’s pretty cool. It allowed us to see how the issues being dealt with my day-to-day basis here which are so prevalent of course, how they differ, and we are talking about what’s going o in may be Romania or Germany or Brazil. So that perspective is very eye-opening.

Kristoffer Butler: Thank you both. So both of you are Presidents of different Bar Associations, Jerome, you are President of the Wolverine Bar Association and Tiffany you’re the President of the Straker Bar Association so what are the purposes of your organization and what do they do in their work?

Tiffany Buckley-Norwood: The D. Augustus Straker Bar Association as a matter of background, it’s named after David Augustus Straker, who was the first African-American to appear before the Michigan Supreme Court. Our mission is to increase minority representation in the legal profession, support and encourage legal practice opportunities for minorities and facilitate equal justice for all citizens.

As I like to put it, we have three prongs, our commitment to the law students, commitment to the community and commitment to our membership.

Jerome Crawford: The Wolverine Bar Association just sort of quick background for you Kris, the WBA was established actually in 1919. Our roots traces back to what is called the Harlan Law Club. Obviously we were founded by several attorneys in the Detroit area who were recruited by local bar associations, namely black attorneys. Our name was selected after Justice John Harlan, Supreme Court Justice.

(00:05:03)

He was 00:05:03 the centers in the opinion of the Plessy v. Ferguson case, and Wolverine Bar Association, we become, because the Michigan 00:05:13 Wolverine State, in the 30s we changed our name from Harlan Law Club over to the WBA and the goals of this organization have not changed. We too promote the efforts of law students which is under representation in our profession as well as attorney and as Tiffany said the community at large.

We do that through a variety of programs and things of that nature, given it is no secret 1919 was our roots tracing back to the Founding date, we are celebrating the 100th year of our organization as well.

Kristoffer Butler: Well, the legal profession has been slowly trying to improve its diversity in welcoming more people of color into it and that’s both of what your organization’s goals are so how are ways that the legal profession can become more welcoming or encouraging to people of color?

Tiffany Buckley-Norwood: Kris we have talked about this. Before I entered the legal profession, but at least for the 13 years that I have been in the legal profession, we talked frequently about making it more welcoming, more encouraging, but a lot of times that conversation is circled around, just diversity, so meaning the numbers.

How many attorneys of color are there in x law firm or in x law school, and a lot of times the inclusion is excluded from that conversation. We have to make sure that we are including that. So when I say inclusion, I am talking about access, access to information, access to  opportunities, making sure that there isn’t the segregation that sometimes happens, just as a natural course of individuals grouping together, making sure that we are fostering those conversations, so everyone has access to the same information and also making sure attorneys are equipped with non-legal aspects of the practice of law that are frequently shared particularly amongst white attorney or attorneys that has that legacy of having a parent or uncle or aunt, who previously practice of law.

So those attorneys tend to know about business development which is crucial if you are going to succeed in the practice of law or networking. So those non-legal aspects are important for making sure that we are inclusive in making sure that everyone succeeds and everyone has access to the same opportunities.

Jerome Crawford: To dovetail on that point you just made Tiffany, which is really salient for me, that is lack of representation. So the mere fact that folks in communities of color, namely asking their 00:07:51 are not going to, in large part have that uncle that practiced 00:07:56 firm, the grandfather that was a partner in a firm, the mom and the dad, right, that went to law school can give you perspective.

With lack of perspective, it’s hard to push against this representation issue. And while the legal profession has become more welcoming or encouraging to people of color, I think it starts number one, with awareness issue, right? Now awareness issue that be profession, the way the profession is not representative of the community at large.

Even whatever it despairs maybe say in the United State of America, our profession is not representative of that. It’s something that was actually reflect, I think it was in recent case that JC had a trademark issue and the concern was that in the whole America Arbitration Association, the AAA, there was not a single black attorney listed under the sort of complex litigation, complex issues.

So he was able to win actually a challenge to say, there is no way, I can get to a fair understanding, fair representation without an individual that would understand culturally to where we are coming from, with respect to this particular issue.

So I think for us it more welcoming, we have to have an awareness that the norm that we come to expect is not representative of our communities, and then number two is pipeline. We have to actually create opportunities as Tiffany just told as well, for students of color, starting at middle school, high school, etched in the law, and realize that the law in fact is a possibility for you.

Having done things like 00:09:15 programs with middle schools and high schools, one of the coolest things is going to hear like wow, I could actually do that and it’s not just law and order, because many of them, there are touch points with law or the justice system, unfortunately often times are negative not positive.

Tiffany Buckley-Norwood: And Jerome, something that you said just 00:09:33 with me so I did mention this previously but prior to joining Jackson Lewis, I was with another law firm and I was on a number of different committees including the diversity committee, the New Lawyer Recruitment Committee for summer associates. One of the things that I was very vocal about while I was part of that law firm is the fact that attorneys of color shouldn’t just be partnered with other attorneys of color.

(00:09:57)

While it’s important for us to have that representation, to have those mentors, that look like us, so when those difficult conversations, those difficult situations come up you have somebody to say, hey have you ever encountered this, how do I deal with it. It also important to have other individuals that don’t look like you that you can talk to as well because they have a different viewpoint, they have a different perspective.

That’s one of the benefits we always talk about at least in workplace law about diversity is that everybody comes from their own perspective, their own viewpoints, so we are able to come up with more creative ideas. When you have a mentor that doesn’t look like you, that you can bounce ideas off of their responses are not going to be the same necessarily as another attorney of color.

I will say just speaking about myself, I have mentors and I have sponsors that come in every color and gender, some of my best mentors have been white men because their perspective was different from the perspective that I might get from a black woman.

For example when they’re talking about how to network in golf which I will say, I am still not a fan of, but having those white mentors having a mentors that are of colors and also having sponsors as well becomes very important. So in the legal profession we need to make sure that when we’re thinking about our mentorship programs and our diversity programs we are also pairing people not just with people that look like them.

Kristoffer Butler: Jerome when we were at the Media meeting and we are at the Good Guy Session, one of the questions that was asked was about how companies and sometimes legal law firms will put a person of color as a head of their diversity committee and just leave them to that. So what is a way that law firms and corporations can make an honest effort towards diversity and inclusion without just plugging the people of color they have into that position?

Jerome Crawford: Thanks Kris that’s an awesome segue and 00:12:07 good guy first and which for contact that group was formed to be understanding of that male leaders, new generations of male leaders have to be instrumental and help them to address the issues of diversity, right, not to say that hey you guys, hey man or even white man you go figure it out issues involving un-representation of women in the workplace or people of color, but you have to be an instrumental force in that.

Ironically we have like an all male panel for you know. That can be seen in a number of ways that we were able to do 00:12:41 planning no but the jokes aside, seriously I think you raised an excellent point Kris which is how do you make an honest effort, if you were to, honestly.

One thing that Tiffany was just touching a moment about having different sponsors,  allies, champions that don’t look like you is sort of diversity of thought and a respect sort of diversity of culture. You have different cultural background I think that’s how you get to point of retention and I love that you use the word retain and not recruit because in fact most firms are focused on recruitment, the same way that you approve, hey we got this great black partner, hey black partner you are going to be the head of our diversity committee, why, because you are black partner, right, just makes sense.

You got to be that guy and that understanding, okay, you don’t want to get people in the door but you want to keep them with you, because when you have under presentation issue naturally and Tiffany will attest to this, we see a lot of times there are firms that are poaching from one firm to the next, because you can have these sort of minority candidates and great qualified representatives just moving from one place to another but we are not actually moving the needle full by having more representation.

At this point of retention from my take there has to be a true inclusive background. Understanding that whatever the status quo, whatever the norm is, may not be representative of the whole, there has to be more gaining of feedback, getting information from all your attorneys particularly those that may not have strong representation of what matters to them with respect to their firm, what cultural things and activities of the firm, where that company engage in and having diverse workforce.

And then I think it’s when they are recruiting, recruiting with a true meritocracy outlook on that Good Guy’s panel we actually had a gentleman who 00:14:19 and what he talked about was how his workforce and entire team is incredibly diverse but it took very intentional efforts.

There has to be a level of intentionality. I am not just saying from a quarter standpoint I have got to hire 10 people, okay two have to be black, four have to be women it can’t be that rigid, but it does have to be this outlook of meritocracy and I do believe that when you are intentionally try to help create diversity environment, true honest diversity and genuine diversity reads more diversity, right because it becomes, I mean that is now natural and inherent and you wonder sometimes how did that come and how do they get it right because they made intentional.

(00:14:58)

Tiffany Buckley-Norwood: I think another thing that’s important law firms need to realize and somebody who hasn’t been in-house counsel before, Jerome could speak to this better than I but at least from the law firm perspective some law firms haven’t realized that we aren’t cut from the same mold. Not everyone comes from the same background, not everybody has the same experiences and that plays out in a number of different ways.

So for example when I was on a recruitment committee a lot of times I would look at someone’s GPA and realize that first semester just did not go well, to be candidly it did not go well but when you talk to them and they realize what went wrong, how they can improve in the future and nine times out of ten, the issue is that they were working during that first year of law school because they were trying to still maintain some income while although adjusting to learning the law itself.

The way that our structure, the whole system and I won’t get on myself but that backs all the way, but the way that the system is setup, you don’t have that opportunity in most instances to start that learning curve without severe ramifications if you’re looking at the traditional large law firm path right? You have to have been great grade your first semester in order to interview and get a summer associate positions so that you can be offered a job to come back.

And so one of the things that I have always been a big proponent of is looking beyond that GPA and talking to the person about what were you doing during your first year, what have you learned.

So another area in which that nontraditional path that not knowing about that adjustment period comes into play is with writing programs and this again is where access and access to opportunities, access to information becomes so important. I was lucky in that I had mentors that told me after you get through your first year classes for your second year make sure that you get an advanced writing course and an advanced research course. Not everybody had that opportunity. A lot of people thought they needed to take the classes that would help them for the bar.

Instead my mentors said you know what, those classes aren’t going to help you long term, make sure you take clinics and make sure you take advanced legal writing, advance legal research because that’s what’s going to help you get a job and do well in your job.

So keeping those things in mind, law firms particularly when people are coming back for the summer or when they are a first year while some law firms have writing programs, or they have research programs, or they have programs on business development, or for example my firm has a whole business development academy, not every law firm does and those are things that help all of us get to the same level. It also helps us to help the firm as well. So thinking about the fact that not everybody coming from the same cookie-cutter mold, not everybody is going to have those opportunities, is important for an inclusion and retention.

Kristoffer Butler: Yeah so I know with at least law students looking in after that first year I know working with 1Ls this year for the applications for thinking about getting a summer associate position, a lot of them are sort of this — oh I didn’t get the grades I wanted or I didn’t get the highest grades, I am not going to get a summer associates position, so I am not going to get job next year and so I think that’s a part of our culture that sort of needs to be addressed that your grades are one aspect of it but there are other things that you can do to change how your outlook on your future is and a lot of that is getting good mentors.

Tiffany Buckley-Norwood: Yes.

Kristoffer Butler: And I think that’s one way that your organizations have been very helpful at least to me as being able to meet other attorneys of color and Judges of color and being able to talk to them about okay what classes should I be taking, what opportunities should I be seeking out.

And I think that’s very helpful to law students of color, but I think law students of color can also be mentors to high school students and middle school students because for a lot of people that draw to be in the legal profession starts younger than college even.

So what can law students of color do better to help, sort of create a pipeline for other young people of color to get into legal profession and to help, guide them along the way?

Tiffany Buckley-Norwood: Both, you draw me in, you Kris have already touched on a lot of what I was going to say, so it’s important to start reaching back if you are not already reaching back, start reaching to elementary and middle high school levels. This is something particularly Straker and I know Wolverine Bar, we are focused on right now. So law students of color can partner with local Bar Associations, community organizations and think outside of the box, it doesn’t just has to be a bar association.

(00:20:01)

I will give you an example. For me, I used one of the ABA’s lesson plans recently to informally pilot a program through my Jack & Jill Chapter for three-year-old through nine-year-olds actually on how everyone in a courtroom has a role in ensuring due process in the criminal justice system.

So we had the President of the Association of Black Judges come in and he talked about the judge’s role and then we had, again these were three through nine year olds. We had each of them play a role so we had one child who was a prosecutor, one who was a defense attorney, one who was the defendant, one who was the judge, one was a court reporter and then everyone else was a jury and they had to get together and talk about the scenario that I gave them, it was a child that threw a ball through a window or was accused of throwing a ball through a window.

And they had to get together and determine what they wanted to say to the jury time and present their arguments and then the jury had to determine whether the defendant was guilty or not guilty. And they loved it. They were engaged in that program and it gave them exposure outside of what we usually hear about the criminal justice system and how the criminal justice system does this service.

To people of color, it showed how they can be part of making sure that there is due process and fairness in that criminal justice system.

Jerome Crawford: That’s what I point. As Tiffany said, the effective concept of a pipeline, you don’t know what you don’t know and when you don’t have people that you can look up to maybe even look like you come from the community that are doing a certain thing, how can you so envision yourself in that role?

The same way that President Obama created validity and created opportunity because now you say it’s confirmation, if I look like, I really can do that, not just people saying, yeah you can be the President one day. So taking that same parallel, I mean this goes to the law firms of color can do to increase sort of people applying and getting in their law schools and pipeline, I think it comes down to very simple concepts, certainly leadership, right which is the lift as you climb model.

So as you are now in law school, each of you come from a certain community, remember that community, remember those that you are there now in front of and making sure that you are reaching back and listening for, this is our dean of our law school or the Dean of Cornell also used to always say, his image of black man climbing over a fence and simultaneously reaching down and bringing up the other with him.

Something that Judge Damon J. Keith talks about all the time, right, that we are walking through doors that didn’t open and we are walking on floors we did not scrub up. So wherever you go, you open doors and you scrub the floors, right, to paraphrase his famous quote.

So I think it’s remembering that if you are coming from those certain communities, remember those communities and find a pipeline. So a quick example of that would be – and this is actually, it didn’t have to happen in bar association but it’s just one model, you can go back to community and just when you go tell your family or friends but this came through actually Young Lawyers Section of State Bar of Michigan and it’s the mock trial we have done, we call this diversity mock trial and we have done it for about five years now.

Every year, right, what we do is we bring in these, we bring in some of the middle school or high school students and they get to do an intensive sort of mock trial workshop, just go through the ability to motivating your prosecutor, defense attorney all that sort of jazz, but the most important point we have noted is at the end we have Q&A with law students, attorneys and judges and particularly those that often look like the students, right, they are coming from inner city and have never even met a lawyer, right.

The only lawyers they know are on Law & Order and they are going. So when you are in front of jury, right and they find all of this perspective they gain, really is eye-opening for them and those touch points I think are really what help encourage folks, encourage young people to go guess what, you can do this too and you too can get in law school and that’s how we can combat this representation issue, which is persistent.

Kristoffer Butler: And I know that we have been having most of our discussions surrounding law students of color but there are white law students that want to be effective allies but they don’t really know what to do and just as there is a wide range of law students of color and their backgrounds, there are white law students who have been around people of color their whole lives. They are aware of the issues they just want to learn how to help and the people that are sort of oblivious because they haven’t been in that world and then some people that just outright ignore it.

But how can white law students and even white legal professionals be effective allies to their colleagues of color in helping them with diversity and inclusion?

Jerome Crawford: I just talk a lot about having courageous conversations. I think that one of the first steps that if you are from a majority white law student, same goes even like the white partner of the firm, right at the GC to gain understanding and perspective it starts with having a conversation and a conversation where if you are that student majority and you say, how can I help because this is an different issue, what can I do.

(00:24:59)

Well let that be almost all that is fit. Basically it has to be a listening exercise, a learning exercise to hear from the experience. I don’t think that necessarily this is one white line, this is what white law students should do right to be effective allies. I think it starts with a C2 information and through genuine understanding to hear from their fellow peers, right?

Because the fellow peers it may be UDM Law School might have been from the different 00:25:21 an issue a view of them about how they think their peers to be affective allies because they might be affective allies just in the sense of here in this law school and issues we are facing or maybe not communities at large or at least enter the profession together. So I think this is seek and gain understanding.

And once there is understanding that is gained, no matter what those methods are that are outlined, we may say okay, I see how I could help. There has to be continued collaboration. I mentioned the concept to serve as good guy’s model, I don’t think it’s ever up to just the majority so that they figure out the issues of the minorities nor the – of the minority will pay, we will give you a seat at the people now, you figure it all out. It has to be a collaborative experience. It has to be an initiative that sides are working on together in unison.

Tiffany Buckley-Norwood: And so kind of does telling are spring boarding off what Jerome said, I think that how can I help is a powerful phrase. If you have methanols that you can take away from this conversation, ask that question how can I help?

Also be reflective. If you are in a room for a program that is beneficial and you do not see any law students of color in that room, you know of them, you might want to approach them and say, hey, did you hear about this program, would you like my notes? Again, that access to information and to opportunities is so important. It can be isolating especially with where the numbers currently are for law students or for law schools in terms of diversity.

It can be isolating at times so being that person to advocate, to mentor, mentor first year law students and say hey, you know, I notice you just got here, let me give you some advice but more importantly, how can I help you, what advice do you need from me?

When it comes to legal professionals, we haven’t really touched much on in-house counsel so I am going to take a moment and touch there. One of the most beneficial things that I have seen in terms of the partnership between in-house counsel and the law firms that service them, in-house counsel have a very powerful role in dictating what law firms do in terms of diversity and inclusion.

Some in-house counsel take the step of asking let me see your numbers in terms of how many attorneys of color or diverse attorneys do you have within your law firm. What I find even more beneficial and I have some clients that do this now are the companies and the organizations that take it a step further and say, I don’t want to just see your numbers but from an inclusion perspective, I want to know not only how many you have but what do the billable hours look like.

I have some clients that have pre-pay surveys where they ask information on the average number of hours for attorneys of color versus white attorneys for the percentage of partners of color versus percentage of partners organization wide. So they want that actual statistics to show yes this law firm is doing what they say they are going to do or that they want to do in terms of diversity and inclusion.

They also ask about the diversity initiatives, the inclusion initiatives that we have in place like do you have any employee resource groups or attorney resource groups to assist your attorneys of color or your – we haven’t talked about women or about LGBT but looking at all of those aspects of diversity and seeing what initiatives the law firms have in place because it also makes the law firms as businesses more reflective themselves if they are not already doing what they are supposed to and they have to show those numbers that might be an embarrassment to them, they will make sure that it’s never an embarrassment again, right?

So asking those deeper questions that go beyond just how many attorneys do you have?

Jerome Crawford: And if I can expound on the point, Tiffany you are spot on as being in-house counsel now that this is actually sentiment it was shared by Donald Crawford is in a rare position by being a black, main partner of a large majority white law firm that constantly works and making profit.

And one thing he talked about and actually that is state 00:29:46 the corporate counsel breakfast last year, 00:29:49 we shared and that the word that in-house counsel had to give out to attorneys that are in private practice of firm, they are going to work on their files that is actual currency, right?

(00:30:01)

And you giving that work to somebody else is like, it’s a true power you have to actually change and adjust the marketplace in how you give it out, not just saying we give it to a firm that’s got large representation of say attorneys of color, right, and great diversity initiatives and all that, but who is working on the file and even taking a step further, who is getting the credit as a billing attorney on that file, right?

So, you might say you have certain company — they will really – and for the client where I am — when I hire outside counsel I am a client, I can really dictate what I want the firms to do if they really want the business and they are serious so to speak about the diversity efforts and issues they want to bring forward, I can say, hey, I want to make sure that 30% or 40% of this file you know, the billing credit goes to the attorney of color.

You got actually got in terms of what that looks like as far as you think is most suitable, you know, who is earning that right, but I want to make sure this 40% of my file is going to attorney of color, if I then getting the billable credit for this work, because that is going to what makes that life changing opportunity for that attorney and then they can take back to community become more than just sort of a file turner, work on the file and you get them ability to have credit and responsibility for it.

So that is a great sentiment aspect I think, but to take it back to your question about white law student, I think white law students are going to become attorneys at some point, right? They are going to become where are they going to an in-house context even in firms, honestly in the context of someone getting true credit, even a law firm this works the same way which Tiffany will definitely attest you, not have the perspective of having been in the firm is who is getting the credit of file which is different than saying let someone work my file, right, this is my client, I will give you few hours, I will give you some assignment and I want to give you a sense of ownership in this matter, that really what helps moving the needle forward.

Tiffany Buckley-Norwood: So Jerome I’ll just bounce one point off of you. So it’s also important to look at how that credit is distributed, so different law firms have different models for how they attribute credit. I love and hopefully they are not mad at me for saying this, but I love the Jackson Lewis model. We have a very unique model in the way that we handle credit. We don’t think about it as a pie where different people get different percentages of the pie. When we are looking at origination credit, if you are part of bringing that business you get origination credit for that business.

We have client management partners that are responsible for maintaining and handling any issues with the client but when it comes to origination of credit it’s not a pie, as they like to say, it’s not a pie as they like to say, it’s not a pie, we are encouraging everyone to be part of the process, we are encouraging that collaboration. So, that’s an important question to ask how is credit attributed to the attorneys so that you are making sure that its attributed in the right way.   

Jerome Crawford: I couldn’t agree more Tiffany. I mean I think you actually innovated. The model what has been historically in firms whether you are talking about the split among attorney, the color, just in general, this is the associate versus partner issue that lives for decade. I think getting created that how we attribute that credit, how you dole it out has to be done, you got to get more innovative.

I love the model the way you described it, like what’s an origination sort of attorney, right, and the credit for that versus even the client management side, because you often time, you get someone that there is a relationship partner so to speak, the rainmaker we have all this term, right, where they go out, they bring in the business and then they never work on the file.

Now that being said, there should be some level of credit attributed for them bringing the business, but for those that are working on the file there has to be some level of credit too alright and how we do that you know how we attribute that goes long particularly when we can take that to underrepresented populations within firms and companies.   

Kristoffer Butler: Vow! I just had to sit there and listen and try to gather all that information. This has been a goldmine of a podcast something for everybody. I want to thank you both again for joining me. I really appreciate you taking time out of your busy days to be on this podcast.

Tiffany Buckley-Norwood: It was a pleasure.

Jerome Crawford: Kris, thank you so much for having us. I have been 00:34:15 listening in the Michigan area, and Tiffany is aware as well as we collaborate on this event is the Wolverine Bar 00:34:22 upon April 6, it’s got 19 and again we are celebrating our 100th year, visit the wolverinebar.org for more information so 00:34:28 local and Michigan or not love to have you, it should be a great celebration. So I want to extend that invitation to all listeners. 

Tiffany Buckley-Norwood: And I am a big proponent of that event so I am not going to mention any Straker Bar Association event because I want everybody to attend that. First, I think that’s the next event that we both have coming up but I will say that you should go to strakerlaw.org to see events that we have after Barristers Ball.

Kristoffer Butler: Alright, listeners I definitely encourage that whether you are in the Michigan area or outside of it to definitely look in to these organizations and similar organizations in your states.

We hope you have enjoyed this episode of the Law Student Podcast. We would like to invite you to subscribe to the ABA Law Student Podcast on iTunes, reach us on Facebook at ABA for Law Student and follow us and all of our student leaders at #abaforlawstudents.

I would again like to thank my guests Jerome Crawford and Tiffany Buckley-Norwood for joining us and before I go, I would like to leave us all with a quote by the Late Justice Thurgood Marshall. “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”

My name is Kristoffer Butler. I have been your host for this podcast, thank you for listening and have a wonderful day.

[Music]

Outro: If you would like more information about what you have heard today, please visit legaltalknetwork.com, subscribe via iTunes and RSS, find us on Twitter and Facebook or download our free Legal Talk Network app in Google Play and iTunes.

Remember, US law students at ABA accredited schools can join the ABA for free. Join now at americanbar.org/lawstudent.

[Music]

The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employee, agents, representatives, share holders and subsidiaries, none of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.   

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Episode Details
Published: February 14, 2019
Podcast: ABA Law Student Podcast
Category: Diversity
Podcast
ABA Law Student Podcast
ABA Law Student Podcast

Presented by the American Bar Association's Law Student Division, the ABA Law Student Podcast covers issues that affect law students and recent grads.

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