In a recent interview with British research publication Who’s Who Legal, LCLD Chair Brad Smith spoke on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and the role LCLD programs can play in that effort.

“If you think about what binds our diverse country together, it’s really a few things,” Brad told WWL's Assistant Editor, April French. “[I]t is the commitment to democratic principles and freedom of expression that are enshrined in the Constitution; it is a healthy respect for other people’s points of view; and it is an abiding and deep appreciation for the rule and the role of law…. When you think about all of those things, they all rest on having a healthy legal profession.”

“In our first five years, LCLD has created summer jobs for 536 1L students, mentored 2,292 law students in 33 cities, and worked with 603 mid-career lawyers through the LCLD Fellows program.”

Brad has led Microsoft’s legal diversity programs, which include a two percent bonus for firms that meet certain diversity goals, an initiative which led diversity representation to grow from 33.6 percent to 46.5 percent at Microsoft Corporation.

Brad also described the important role that LCLD programs can play in diversifying the legal profession at every level.

“The LCLD has created a unique opportunity for us to work together across organizational boundaries, and I like the fact that we are working in a very measurable way,” Brad said. “In our first five years, we have created summer jobs for 536 1L students, mentored 2,292 law students in 33 cities, and worked with 603 mid-career lawyers through the LCLD Fellows program.”

Measurable success is not just the number of participants, he noted, but also the rates of retention and referral – areas in which LCLD’s Fellows excel.

“Any law firm managing partner that does not have lawyers participating in the Fellows program is missing out on a very important opportunity to grow their firm, in my view,” Brad added. “They should wake up before they see their competitors outpace them by doing a better job of harnessing diversity as a growth engine.”

To read the full interview, click here

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