The Importance of Minority Representation in the Legal Community

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While minorities make up approximately 16% of the population in Allegheny County, the judicial system sorely lacks individuals in the judiciary that represent the community it serves. Since 1949, when Homer S. Brown was elected as the first male African American Judge in Allegheny County, few African Americans have landed a seat on the bench. Presently, only three African American Judges serve on the Allegheny County bench, namely, the Honorable Kim Berkeley Clark, who serves as the President Judge of the Allegheny County Common Pleas, the Honorable Dwayne Woodruff and the Honorable Judge Eliott Howsie. This issue, however, is not limited the Allegheny County Courts, courts all around the United States have been plagued with a shortage of African Americans practicing in courtrooms, particularly, in family law courtrooms.

Studies have shown that representation is pivotal in fostering self-esteem, building trust between lawyers and their clients, and ensuring zealous advocacy. Minorities want attorneys who look like them and understand their plight and socio-economic background. Filing the right divorce complaint, understanding your support obligations or addressing your child custody needs, necessitates an attorney advocates for your family’s interest. The legal processes are complicated and self-represented parties are given no more and no less deference, meaning courts hold self-represented parties to the same standards that they hold lawyers. This is why having legal representation is crucial. Family law is a special niche, especially when emotions are running high, it is important to have an attorney who can use a wealth of legal and personal experience to address the intricacies of this area of practice.

We, at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. understand the barriers African Americans face in and out of the courtroom and want to ensure all of our clients, including our diverse clientele, are afforded the best representation, no matter their background.

Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C. is a women-owned business that celebrates and welcomes diversity. Black History Month highlights the work done by many African Americans over the years, and, this month we recognize two young attorneys, Jessyca P. McCarl and Melissa C. Lewis, both African American family law attorneys with our Pittsburgh office, who are dedicated to protecting the rights of all minorities in Family Court in the Greater Pittsburgh area, Butler, Beaver, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland Counties in Pennsylvania. Both attorneys are well versed in custody matters, divorce, child support, spousal support, adoption, name changes, surrogacy and more. Contact our office at (412) 281-9906 to speak to one of our attorneys today.