Authors Mark Roellig, former LCLD Board Member and Chief Technology and Administrative Officer at MassMutual, and Coco Xiao, 2017 LCLD Scholar at MassMutual. 

Editor’s note: The text below is an excerpt from “A Widening Gap: The Unequal Growth Rate in Gender and Racial Diversity,” which appears in the November 2017 issue of ACC Docket Magazine. Authored by Mark Roellig and Coco Xiao, the article is available in PDF form at the bottom of this page.

There is little doubt that we are living in a dynamic world, and the legal field is not exempt to the evolving demands of the market. The shifts in demographics and the growing awareness of the benefits of diversity and inclusion have led to an increased endorsement of diversity initiatives at both firms and corporations. Over the past few years, these efforts have led to some successes, but the progress has not been uniform…

Diversity initiatives are insufficient if they do not also increase the meaningful participation at elite and leadership levels of the profession: substantive diversity. 

Women now make up 25.5 percent of Fortune 500 general counsel, and 26.8 percent of S&P general counsel. Moreover, 30.1 percent of the newly appointed Fortune 500 general counsel are women… Similar increases have not been replicated in the diversity of minorities within the ranks of general counsel in Fortune 500 and S&P 200 companies. In total, minorities make up just 10 percent of general counsel in Fortune 500 companies and 11.62 percent of S&P companies…

Unless corporations begin replicating their successes in gender diversity initiatives in the scope of racial diversity, the problem will only become worse going forward. The solution will involve a reexamination of current diversity initiatives to assess their limitations, and begin applying a more holistic strategy to retain and promote diverse legal talent to leadership levels. 

To read more, visit the ACC Docket website here or download the PDF below. 

About the authors: 

Mark Roellig is the Chief Technology and Administrative Officer (former General Counsel) of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. Mark is also a former Member of the LCLD Board of Directors. 

Coco Xiao is a student at Harvard University School of Law. She was a 1L law clerk at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. Coco is also a 2017 1L LCLD Scholar. 


Reprinted with permission of the authors and the Association of Corporate Counsel as it originally appeared: Mark Roellig and Coco Xiao, “A Widening Gap: The Unequal Growth Rate in Gender and Racial Diversity,” ACC Docket 35, no. 9 (Nov. 2017): 58-62. Copyright @2017, the Association of Corporate Counsel. All rights reserved. If you are interested in joining ACC, please go to www.acc.com, call 202.293.4103 X360, or email membership@acc.com.

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