Compiled for the LCLD Board of Directors every Wednesday, this digest is designed to brief you on the latest headlines about LCLD Members and organizations, as well as thought-provoking articles on diversity in the legal profession, talent development, mentoring, and leadership. Past issues of the Digest are also archived on the LCLD web site.

If you have questions about the Digest, articles you'd like to share, of if you would like to subscribe, please email Caitlin Puffenberger at

This week, in news related to diversity and inclusion...

1. Comcast Helping to Bridge Law’s Diversity Divide

Bloomberg BNA, 2/3/16

LCLD Member firm Latham & Watkins LLP is working with Comcast Corp. and others to develop diverse young lawyers through its summer fellowship program, according to LCLD Diversity Professional Manu Gayatrinath. Students spend half the summer at Latham & Watkins and half with one of the firm’s clients. A Comcast representative says the company benefits from the program because it builds a stronger relationship with the firm, develops a relationship with diverse outside counsel, and exposes the company to talented, diverse attorneys they might wish to hire in the future. 

2. Women in Company Leadership Tied to Stronger Profits, Study Says

The New York Times, 2/9/16

Having women in the C-suite is correlated with increased profits, according to a study of 22,000 publicly traded companies from the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Other findings include:

  • 60 percent of companies had no female board members, and 50 percent had no female executives.
  • Increasing women in top management positions from 0 to 30 percent correlated with a 15 percent rise in profitability.
  • Among 91 countries, the U.S. was in the middle with women in 12 percent of board seats; Norway was the most gender diverse, at 40 percent. 

3. The SEC Wants New Rules for Board Diversity – Here’s Why That Matters

Fortune, 1/29/16

The Securities and Exchange Commission is reviewing the agency’s current rules for disclosing boardroom diversity. Since 2009, the SEC requires public company’s to disclose whether and how they consider diversity when nominating directors. But some feel that companies may take advantage of the broad definition of “diverse,” keeping investors in the dark about the true diversity of leadership.  A new policy might set quotas for gender or racial diversity, or give more specific guidelines for defining “diversity” in race, gender, skills, and experience. 

4. Flexibility Benchmarking Survey Report

Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, January 2016 

Each year the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance gathers data on the workplace flexibility of U.S. law firms. Some highlights from the 2015 report include:

  • Over 90 percent of participating firms have formal flexibility policies, with reduced hour schedules the most commonly offered and the most popular among employees.
  • Women make up 68 percent of those who use reduced hour schedules, despite making up only 36.5 percent of all lawyers.
  • Lawyers of color and LGBT lawyers are underrepresented among those lawyers using reduced hour schedules.
  • Even though firms offer flexible work options, most lawyers on the partner track are not using them.

5. Are You Wasting Leadership Development Investments?

Chief Learning Officer, 2/2/16

U.S. companies spend more than $15 billion annually on leadership development programs, yet 55 percent of executives in a 2015 survey said their leadership development was “fair” or “very poor.” Suggestions for more successful leadership development include:

  • Executive sponsorship, with CEOs and others emphasizing the importance of leadership development and playing a role in developing their employees.
  • Start looking for leadership potential early on so that employees have plenty of time to develop, but don’t drop off when reaching mid- and senior level leadership.
  • Tie leadership development to strategic business needs.