Welcome to the LCLD INSIDER, our monthly newsletter. This publication is for you, and we welcome your feedback and ideas, as well as any news you might be interested in passing along. Please share the INSIDER with your support staff, diversity directors, and marketing departments to keep them better informed about what LCLD is doing.

-Robert Grey, Executive Director

Speakers at Annual Meeting Spark Spirited Discussions

Outstanding speakers at the LCLD annual meeting (Bob Nelson, Director of the American Bar Foundation, and Prof. Jerry Kang of UCLA Law) delivered powerful presentations. The two experts kicked off robust discussions among the most heavily attended annual meeting in LCLD's history.

Click here for a video and slides of Bob Nelson's presentation, "State of the Profession: Trends in Legal Diversity."

LCLD will be posting excerpts of Jerry Kang's presentation along with selected slides in the near future. 

The Leadership Baton is Passed

"The handing off of the baton from outgoing LCLD Chair Rick Palmore to new Chair Wally Martinez at the annual meeting was not only an emotional moment," said LCLD Executive Director Robert J. Grey, Jr., "it also perfectly illustrated one of the undergirding principles of LCLD: collaboration. Law firms and corporations are working together to develop real-world strategies to advance the development of the best talent for our member organizations as well as the profession."

98% of LCLD Members Likely to Attend the Next Annual Meeting

Thanks to all who completed the post-meeting survey to provide a "report card" on the 2012 annual meeting. All aspects, including quality of presenters, the Fellows panel, overall technical quality, and "Year-In-Review" video won high marks. When combining the two categories of "Very Satisfied" and "Somewhat Satisfied," scores were all in the 90% to 100% range. When asked if "Likely to Attend" another annual meeting in the future, the score was 98%.

New LCLD Committee Chairs Announced

LCLD's Strategic Committees have new Chairs and Vice Chairs, and a new strategic committee has been formed: the Strategy & Innovation Committee. Click here for the news release.

Expanded Role for Pfizer GC Schulman

Congratulations to LCLD Member Amy Schulman, General Counsel of Pfizer Inc., who has been tapped to run Pfizer's Consumer Healthcare business, in addition to her roles as General Counsel and President and General Manager of Pfizer's Nutrition business.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Prepared by: Stuart Pixley
Senior Attorney and Legal and Corporate Affairs Disability Inclusion Lead
Microsoft Corporation

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). For those of us with a passion for increasing diversity in the legal profession, it is an opportune time to evaluate how people with disabilities can be included in our own diversity and inclusion strategies. A very simple but impactful step LCLD members can take is to become signatories to the ABA Pledge for Change.

This Pledge, modeled on Rick Palmore's "Call to Action", reaffirms a commitment to inclusion of people with disabilities in the legal profession. When Microsoft's legal department signed the Pledge in 2010 we started an internal dialogue about how to include disability in our own diversity efforts. Today we have a longstanding relationship with the National Association of Law Students with Disabilities, members of our legal department coach current and prospective students and graduates with disabilities through the ABA's Mentorship Program and include disability issues in the company's diversity panel discussions. Recently, the department formed a disability diversity team to focus on how we might expand our efforts further.

Signing the Pledge for Change could not be more timely. Despite the success of the disability rights movement and national legislation such as the ADA, employment of individuals with disabilities in the legal field remains exceptionally low, even as compared with other minority groups. Even those that enter the profession may still face prejudice and stereotypes as well as a lack of strong role models. In 2009, NALP reported less than .25 percent of lawyers self-identifying as having a disability, likely reflecting both actual underrepresentation in the legal field as well as a still persistent fear of disclosure.

The Pledge for Change lays important groundwork for a meaningful answer to these problems by sending a powerful message "people with disabilities belong here too." Microsoft and the LCLD invite all LCLD members to celebrate NDEAM and add their voice to the Pledge.

Noted and Quoted

The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession has asked the ABA to amend its Model Rules of Professional Conduct to state that lawyers have an obligation to promote diversity and inclusion. The National Law Journal asked LCLD Executive Director Robert J. Grey, Jr., for comment on this idea. His response, published Sept. 19: "The devil is always in the details with this type of proposal. What will the rule say? What is it trying to accomplish? Does it come with sanctions?" Grey asked. "All these things have to be evaluated."

The general concept of making diversity and inclusion an ethical responsibility will likely enjoy some support, he said, and the institute's request gives the ABA a chance to look more closely at how different states and local bars have approached the issue and perhaps lead to some uniformity, he said.