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.

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

This week, in news related to diversity and inclusion...

1. Why “Company Culture” is a Misleading Term

Harvard Business Review, 4/21/15

Many organizations use the term “company culture” to describe their shared values; a positive, inclusive corporate culture is thought to mean employees are happier and more productive. But there’s a problem with using the term: “it simplistically represents a particular group of people as a unified whole that share simple common values, ideas, practices, and beliefs. But the fact is, such groups really don’t exist…. By using the culture concept, we tend to artificially ossify the diverse, complex, and constantly changing social environment that is any organization.” Instead, this author proposes developing a way of thinking and talking that better captures the “discursive nature” of organizations and the individuals within them.

2. Diversity and the Law: Old Problem, New Approach 

The National Law Journal, 4/20/15 

Law firms and corporate legal departments need to embrace creative thinking if they want to make the profession more inclusive. One leadership suggests reframing diversity training as leadership training, which still requires cultural sensitivity and an understanding of the challenges faced by diverse lawyers – with the stigma of “diversity training” attached. Others suggest sponsorships for diverse young lawyers; beyond the advice provided by a mentor, sponsors help prepare young attorneys for specific leadership roles. LCLD Members Prudential Financial Inc. and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP are recognized for their creative diversity initiatives. 

3. The Business Case for Including Gay Lawyers

The National Law Journal, 4/20/15 

The ability of LGBT attorneys to be open about their personal lives without fear for their careers is key to recruiting and retaining them, according to law firm partners and general counsel at the Out in Law leadership summit in New York. Firms need to be active beyond creating LGBT affinity groups, according to a representative from LCLD Member firm Greenberg Traurig. Examples include offering to sponsor an LGBT-centric event or hosting Pride Week celebrations. Firms and legal departments also need to make it clear that it’s important to have the LGBT perspective represented in leadership. 

4. Microsoft Joins Freddie Mac, SAP in Autism Hiring Initiatives

Talent Management, 4/16/15 

Microsoft Corp. is adding another facet to its diversity and inclusion initiatives, with a pilot program to hire people with autism in full-time positions. Another LCLD Member organization, Freddie Mac, also has a program for autistic workers. Both programs make use of the special skill sets of those with autism, who are often unemployed or lack support in their workplaces. 

5. The Invisible Men…and Women: Many Native American Attorneys Harassed

Indian Country Today, 4/16/15

Native American attorneys often feel invisible and that their experiences are not valid, according to the first ever study of Native American attorneys. Native American attorneys lag behind other minority groups in inclusion, retention, and representation. Other highlights include:

  • More than 40 percent of Native American attorneys have experiences harassment based on their race, and at least 33 percent reported discrimination.
  • Women also experienced harassment, discrimination, denial of advancement, and denial of appropriate compensation based on gender.
  • The most satisfied attorneys work in the tribal sector, while the least satisfied work for the government or law firms. 

6. Georgetown Pairs Up with DLA Piper, Arent Fox to Open Low Bono Firm

The American Lawyer, 4/12/15 

Two LCLD Member organizations are working with Georgetown University Law Center to create a small nonprofit firm in Washington, D.C. DLA Piper and Arent Fox LLP will help provide legal services at affordable rates to people who can’t afford regular legal fees but also don’t qualify for free legal aid.