Skip to content
Legal Talent & Inclusion

Pandemic Nation Podcast: New research shows how pandemic impacted legal careers of under-represented professionals

Natalie Runyon  Director of Enterprise Content and Talent, Culture & Inclusion Strategist in Market Insights for the Thomson Reuters Institute

Natalie Runyon  Director of Enterprise Content and Talent, Culture & Inclusion Strategist in Market Insights for the Thomson Reuters Institute

In a new podcast, we discuss our recent research on how the pandemic, the movement for racial justice, and other seismic events have impacted the careers of lawyers from under-represented backgrounds

There’s little doubt that the global pandemic directly impacted the careers of legal professionals across the board; however, in a new white paper, Pandemic Nation: Understanding its impact on lawyers from under-represented communities, we looked at how the pandemic’s impact greatly effected those lawyers from under-represented communities.

The paper, published by Thomson Reuters, the Association of Corporate Counsel Foundation (ACCF), and the Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals (ALFDP) present information based on individual race and ethnicity for the U.S. only.

Now, in a new podcast, available on the Thomson Reuters Institute Market Insights channel, Natalie Runyon, director of enterprise content on talent and inclusion topics for the Thomson Reuters Institute, speaks with Brenda Carr, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at the law firm Arnold & Porter, and Jennifer Chen, Director of the ACCF about what insights stood out from recent research on how the pandemic, the movement for racial justice, and other seismic events over the last 18 months impacted the careers of lawyers from under-represented backgrounds.


You can listen to the full podcast with Jennifer Chen & Brenda Carr here.


The group, then, turned the discussion to the topic of employee well-being and, for those with caregiving challenges, how organizations can better support their staff.

In June 2020, ACC did an informal flash poll of members on the general topic of well-being, showing that 30% of them at the time reported their level of burnout as very high or high, with another 44% reporting moderate burnout. However, by February 2021, lawyers are still feeling the effects of the burnout, despite many organizations coming out of the crisis phase of the pandemic.

Further, research showed that many lawyers found it difficult to establish boundaries when working remotely because of the difficulty of setting designated times of the day where they were focused on family and work commitments. Thus, it is critical for legal employers is to have “extensive conversations and ongoing conversations around respecting and honorary boundaries” and to empower employees to set the boundaries that allow them to manage and successfully navigate their personal and professional lives.

Finally, Chen and Carr discuss the positive effects of the last 16 months, including how flexibility and the opportunity to build on awareness around the unique experiences of under-represented lawyers now are part of the mainstream conversations around talent. This gives some legal managers, such as Carr, the opportunity to harness this power and maintain the momentum in order to drive permanent meaningful change.


Episode transcript.

You can download a copy of the Pandemic Nation white paper here.

More insights