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US Justice for black defendants undermined by lawyers

By Des Cahill

13 May 2015 at 14:06 BST

Black defendants are dealt with by mainly white lawyers, undermining the justice system, says the ABA.

The perception of justice is undermined by few black lawyers in the courtrooms Kheng Guan Toh

According to the American Bar Association, 88 per cent of all lawyers are white and only 4.8 per cent  are black, so for each of the 60,864 black lawyers, there are 686 black citizens needing assistance compared with only 282 white citizens for each of the 1,117,118 white lawyers. In reality, the disparity is of course much greater because African Americans are disproportionately entangled in the criminal justice system – one in 15 black men is incarcerated, compared to one in 106 white men.

Court officials

The under-representation extends to the courtroom officials, judges and clerks. Again, according to the American Bar Association, in state trial courts, where the vast majority of cases are handled, only seven per cent  of judges are black. For the clerks, the numbers are worse and declining – less than three per cent of clerks in the appellate courts are African American. 


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