Young law students fight for more Black representation in courtrooms

Recent data from American Bar Association shows Black attorneys make up 4.7% of lawyers nationwide

ORLANDO, Fla. – A lawyer is responsible for closing the gap in a tough industry and can either make or break a case, however, there is little Black representation among the people who might represent you.

Recent data from the American Bar Association found that Black attorneys nationwide made up only 4.7% of lawyers in 2021, slightly down from 4.8% in 2011.

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“It shows me that it’s hard work, but it’s also possible,” Howard University student Eja Richardson said.

Richardson, an Orlando native, said graduating from Harvard Law school, and someday becoming a federal judge, would mean the world to her.

She’s a recent graduate of Dr. Phillips High School.

“In order to change the system, why not be a part of it?” Richardson said. “I remember in fourth grade, I was 10 years old when Trayvon Martin was sadly killed and that was my first ever protest.”

She said it was also one of her first memories of injustice and the very reason she also protested when George Floyd was killed.

“We’ve got to move forward. We’ve got to move forward from that,” Richardson said.

Recent Florida A&M University Law alumni Okoye Morgan is doing his part and getting results too. He wrote a children’s book called “The Boy Who Went to Law School” hoping to change the narrative for Black children.

“I make this boy like a superhero. And he’s able to accomplish law school, he can be a president, an attorney. He can be what he’s called on to be,” Morgan said. “The only way that you can truly impact the system is if you are involved in the system.”

Attorney Lucie Robinson owns and manages Pintard Robinson Law in Orlando, alongside her co-owner and partner Mia Pintard, who manages the practice down in South Florida.

“I didn’t see that many people who looked like me, but it also inspired me to want to be someone to represent the community,” Robinson said.

They also sponsor some of our News 6 Black History Month coverage.

“It puts it on me like ‘Hey, there’s not a lot of people like you in this profession. You have to do a great job and help pave the way for others,’” Robinson said. “You can do it and we are here to help.”

Robinson told News 6 she’s first-generation American and the first lawyer in her family.  She’s 30 years old and said mentorship is key.  She also thanked her parents for encouraging her and pushing her to work hard.

At FAMU Law, leaders said they have more than 1,500 graduates and 11 of their graduates are current judges nationwide. They said FAMU also has a Legal Scholars Program on their main campus in Tallahassee to attract students interested in law school.

About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.