By Lorenzo A. Trujillo
To become a lawyer is to obtain power.
Lawyers make the law, interpret its scope and execute its potentially devastating effect. Yet, if there is unequal access to this most powerful of professions, the law’s very effectiveness is eroded and upended. Stratification along racial or socioeconomic lines in our lawyerly class fuels the perception that the deck is stacked in favor of entrenched elites.
This problem can be particularly acute in a place like Colorado, where the state’s rapid demographic change must be matched by change in the makeup of those creating and enforcing the mechanisms that put people in jail, dissolve marriages and enforce property rights.
We say justice is blind, but plenty of Coloradans take stock of who is meting out justice. And, unfortunately, the portrait of justice in Colorado and the United States is unrepresentative of the population as a whole. For example, only 4.9 percent of Colorado attorneys (and around 12.7 percent of attorneys nationwide) are persons of color, compared with almost 40 percent of the U.S. population.