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. Starting in 2015, the Digest will be archived on the LCLD web site.

If you have questions about the Digest, or articles you’d like to share, please email Caitlin Puffenberger at 

1. Uninvited: Counsel Lists and How They Limit Minority and Women Owned Firms' Access to Legal Work

Inside Counsel, 1/21/15

The use of preferred counsel lists perpetuates historic inequalities, as the firms that have the longest relationship with a company are the most likely to remain on the list and also most likely to be owned by white men. This convergence hurts both minority- and women-owned firms and the corporations that miss out on the business advantages of diverse perspectives. The author suggests corporations use diversity as the “qualitative differentiator” between comparable firms, widen their networks of potential firms, revise or establish supplier diversity goals, and unbundle legal services.    

2. New Report Finds a 'Diversity Dividend' at Work

The Wall Street Journal, 1/20/15

A study of 366 public companies found a statistically significant relationship between companies with women and minorities in their upper ranks and better financial performance. 

  • Businesses with extensive ethnic diversity were 35 percent more likely to report financial returns above their industry average.  
  • Businesses with the most gender diverse leadership were 15 percent more likely to outpace the national industry average.
  • The financial payoff for gender diversity was not evident among American businesses until women made up at least 22 percent of the senior executive team. The average representation is 16 percent. 

3. Supreme Court Grants Review of Same-Sex Marriage Cases

The National Law Journal, 1/16/15

The United States Supreme Court agreed to review four cases on same-sex marriage this session. Their ultimate decision will determine whether states can prohibit same-sex marriage without violating the federal Constitution. 

4. What Intel's $300M Diversity Budget Can Teach Other Businesses

Talent Management, 1/14/15

Intel Corp. has made headlines for its decision allocate $300 million to building a more diverse workplace. However, this can only be accomplished if the cash is accompanied by a shift in organizational culture. This includes viewing minorities and women as equally competent, recruiting from schools with strong technology programs and high levels of diversity, and considering practices like mentoring programs that embed diversity at all levels. 

5. Firms Seeking to Increase Diversity Should Look to Public Sector

The Legal Intelligencer, 1/12/15

The public sector appears to have less trouble than law firms at retaining talented diverse lawyers, perhaps because firms’ narrow definition of talent overlooks individual diversity and diverse legal training. Firms should focus less on potential employees’ law school rankings and internships and more on the skills they have acquired and the experiences they have had, as well as considering hiring public-sector lawyers.