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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Insight Into Diversity, July 2016
Three chief diversity officers share their perspectives on diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and in law schools. The lack of diversity in the profession results from “deep-seated cultural resistance to change,” said Elizabeth Campbell, Chief Diversity Officer at Andrews Kurth LLP. “Overcoming [unconscious biases] requires awareness, organizational momentum, and change, and change is difficult.” All three diversity officers said diversity at the top was crucial; Christopher Pickett, 2013 Fellow and Chief Diversity Officer at Greensfelder, Hemker, and Gale, PC, said it’s also important to focus on inclusion. “I think law firms focus on the big things, like offering the position, but they don’t focus on the little things, like who gets to go to the marketing pitch,” Pickett said. “Those smaller things are [some of] the reasons why people feel included and like they are part of the team.”
LCLD Communications, 7/12/16
LCLD Fellows visited Pittsburgh for a Learning Experience at PNC Financial Services, where they learned about the importance of diversity and inclusion to the future of banking. “Leaders, the workforce, the population – they’re all getting more diverse,” said Greg Jordan, LCLD Member and General Counsel at PNC. “It clearly won’t be acceptable in the future for only white men to be leading.” Fellows also heard from the PNC CEO, the PNC Foundation, and a diverse panel of women lawyers on varying paths to success.
Unitarian Universalist Association
A Unitarian pastor shared his response to a request to use the phrase “All Lives Matter” in place of “Black Lives Matter”: “To say that black lives matter is not to say that other lives do not; indeed, it is quite the reverse – it is to recognize that all lives do matter, and to acknowledge that African Americans are often targeted unfairly…and that our society is not yet so advanced as to have become truly color blind… I owe it to the ideal that we share, the ideal that all lives matter, to take their experiences seriously and listen to what they are saying. To deny the truths of these experiences because they make me uncomfortable would be to place my comfort above the safety of others, and I cannot do that.”
Bloomberg BNA, 7/8/16
Cultivating the best talent sometimes means looking in unexpected places – take Jack Chen, a blind lawyer and Triathlete who works in-house at Google. “People with disabilities often bring unique aspects to projects, including outstanding problem solving skills… they’ve been doing it their whole lives… and great tenacity to get things done since, again, they’ve been practicing that their whole lives,” Chen said. As of 2010, one in five Americans had a disability – the majority of which are invisible disabilities like dyslexia, rheumatoid arthritis, or depression.
At a memorial service for the five officers killed in Dallas, President Obama paid tribute to the officers and their efforts, and insisted that racial discrimination and violence cannot be ignored. “Faced with this violence, we wonder if the divides of race in America can ever be bridged,” he said. “We wonder if an African American community that feels unfairly targeted by police and police departments that feel unfairly maligned for doing their jobs can ever understand each other’s experience… I’m here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem.”
New York Times Magazine, 7/12/16
The relative speed with which queer identity and gender fluidity have become more widely acceptable is a sign of cultural revolution. Yet academics and LGBT activists worry that the acceptance may be superficial. “The radical power of ‘queer’ always came from its inclusivity,” writes Jenna Wortham. “But that inclusivity offers a false promise of equality that does not translate to the lived reality of most queer people…The widespread acceptance and even appropriation of the word ‘queer’ seem to move us both closer and further from the future. But the horizon is out there, and you can see it if you squint.”