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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Best Lawyers Business Edition, Spring 2016
Focusing on law firms’ diversity statistics alone can lead us to miss the forest for the trees, writes Gary Sasso, LCLD Board Member and President and CEO of Carlton Fields. Law firms need to encourage client relationship managers and team leaders – those who make staffing choices and work assignments – to adopt the Rooney Rule or similar policies to make sure that diverse lawyers are consistently given opportunities to lead assignments and connect with others. Corporate legal departments should be open about requesting more in-depth information on the diversity of the teams working with them. Finally, “while diverse attorneys may face more obstacles than their majority or male counterparts, they must view the challenge as a driver of success, not a cause for despair.”
Best Lawyers Business Edition, Spring 2016
Paulette Brown, ABA President and LCLD Diversity Contact at Locke Lord LLP, and Cyndie Chang, 2011 Fellow and Managing Partner of the Los Angeles office of Duane Morris LLP, were interviewed for a series on 15 high-achieving female attorneys across the profession. Both discussed their entry into the legal field, the challenges facing female lawyers, and the importance of mentoring, particularly for women of color. “As my mother taught me, ‘to whom much is given, of much is required,’” said Brown. “There is an inherent obligation of everyone to share knowledge with someone else… I believe mentoring is a lifelong commitment and that mentoring goes in both directions.”
Bloomberg Big Law Business, 5/10/16
“We are not where we need to be for LGBT attorneys in the profession,” said 2011 Fellow Laura Maechtlen, Partner and Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Action Team at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, in an interview on being an openly LGBT lawyer. She identifies three key areas where the legal profession needs to improve with regard to the LGBT community:
- Comprehensive, non-discrimination laws to protect LGBT lawyers from losing work or jobs for their sexual orientation
- Support from leadership to make LGBT lawyers feel comfortable being “out” at work
- Mindful inclusion of transgender individuals: “The joy and relief that would come with an ability to come out and live authentically in a way that aligned with your gender identity is incredibly important.”
The Washington Post, 5/10/16
The key to successful family leave is making it available to both men and women, and realizing that men may need encouragement to use it, write Anne-Marie Slaughter, Director of NewAmerica and past LCLD Annual Meeting speaker, and Brigid Schulte, Director of the Better Life Lab. “Our culture still expects men to be breadwinners and providers…yet men overwhelmingly do want paternity leave,” they write. “When that extra encouragement is in place and fathers actually use family leave, research shows they become much more active caregivers and more equally share responsibilities throughout the life of the child. This is more than good for child development – it’s a win for gender equality.”
The American Lawyer, 5/12/16
“Very diverse legal teams get 25 percent more of clients’ total legal spending than teams that are not at all diverse,” according to a survey of almost 2,000 senior in-house counsel from around the world. While only about a quarter of legal teams the in-house counsel reported using are diverse, they receive a larger share of legal spending, higher performance ratings, and are more likely to be recommended. The survey also found that female general counsel in the U.S. earned about 18 percent less than their male colleagues.
The University of Arizona College of Law is now accepting GRE scores in place of the LSAT for acceptance into its J.D. program. Because the GRE can be taken almost any time of the year – as opposed to the four times the LSAT can be taken – U of A believes it will be more accessible for a broader range of applicants. “It allows us to build a class that will be more diverse in every respect,” said Dean Marc Miller. However, deans from 149 other law schools have spoken out against the policy, saying the LSAT is still necessary.