Daun leading the charge for a diverse legal field.

Byline: Joe Petrie

As a Milwaukee native, Margaret Daun received firsthand experience in the difference diversity can make.

Daun attended parochial school before moving on to Rufus King High School, which has one of the state's most diverse student bodies. She then went to college at Marquette University, where much of that diversity was suddenly missing.

"It was sort of a reverse culture shock when I got there," she said. "It was very strange to be in a higher education setting where many classes didn't have a single person of color. And I thought it was just very weird."

Daun was named Milwaukee County Corporation Counsel in 2017, and she has applied her passion to the legal field in the Milwaukee area. She started asking for diversity information from law firms the county works with to find out the makeup of staffs.

"I separated it out from their overall numbers, including the associates and the support staff from the partnership ranks, specifically the equity partnership ranks," she said. "We've shone a bright light on equity data."

Daun made the data public to continue the discussion on diversity and find ways to encourage more diversity within the legal ranks.

"We can't solve the problem unless we admit there is one," she said. "So the first thing is everyone needs to get some religion and get some truth on the fact that the numbers are terrible."

Daun has worked with the county as well to make sure it is getting diverse applicants for legal positions. Milwaukee County also started an Office on...

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