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.
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Bloomberg BNA, 4/21/16
Law firms need to act now to improve create inclusive environments or risk losing an entire generation of talented lawyers, writes Stephen Poor, LCLD Member and Chairman Emeritus of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. The issue is not a lack of flexible policies, but firms failing to adjust their culture to fully support those who choose to use flexible work arrangements or alternative career paths, he explains. Law firms need to choose to take responsibility for those factors under their control, to engage seriously and collaboratively with a new generation of lawyers, and invest strategically in new technologies.
Fourteen LCLD Member corporations were named among the top 50 companies for diversity. For 2016, more than 1,800 companies took a survey to assess their diversity performance in the areas of diverse pipeline, equitable talent development, CEO/leadership commitment, and supplier diversity. LCLD Member corporations were also ranked No. 1 on five specialty lists.
Law school enrollment is down, but the percentage of black and Latino students has increased to about 20 percent – “a direct reflection of huge decreases in the number of white students,” says law professor Aaron Taylor. Fewer white students are applying to law school because of a smaller legal job market, which results in “clearer pathways for underrepresented people…into the profession,” he explains. “Only about 12 percent of all lawyers are people of color and therefore, the demographics we see in legal education are encouraging.”
The New York Times
This series of short films explores race in America, with topics like “A Conversation With Latinos on Race,” “A Conversation About Growing Up Black,” and “A Conversation With Police on Race.” Viewers are also encouraged to submit their own videos discussing their thoughts on and experiences with race. The interviews touch on a broad range of themes, including pride in one’s culture, discrimination, and stereotyping.
Harvard Business Review, 4/26/16
Despite the social assumption that men take more risks, women ranked 3 percentage points higher on a boldness index. The seven behaviors assessed included challenging standard approaches, energizing others to take on challenging goals, and having the courage to make necessary changes. The difference in boldness was particularly strong in male-dominated fields like IT and research and development – likely because they need to be bolder to succeed in predominantly male environments. Researchers believe that while women are not necessarily bolder than men across the board, women in male-dominated fields have to be bolder to succeed in business.
The Atlantic, 4/25/16
Merriam-Webster added several words related to sexuality and gender to its unabridged dictionary in a recent update, including “gender-fluid,” “transphobia,” and the honorific title “Mx.” sometimes preferred in place of “Mr.” or “Mrs.” Recent court decisions and legislation around these subjects, and their coverage in the media, have made them part of both popular and more academic dialogue. While individuals may disagree about their validity, MW editors note that the frequent, meaningful, and widespread use of terms like “genderqueer” means they ought to be considered part of modern vocabulary.