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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, in news related to diversity and inclusion...
Inside Counsel, 6/23/15
In preparation for the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, LCLD Member firm McDermott, Will & Emery wrote an amicus brief on the federal government’s history of discrimination against LGBT people. According to the brief: “For decades, both federal and state governments targeted and persecuted homosexuals, individuals suspected of being homosexual, and even those believe to have engaged in homosexual acts, regardless of actual sexual orientation. The state rationale shifted over time – form concerns about national security to code words such as ‘suitability’ – but the point was always the same: government officials, federal and state, high and low, felt a complete revulsion toward homosexuals and wanted to purge the country of even the hint of homosexuality.”
Minority Corporate Counsel Association
Three LCLD Member corporations were named “Employers of Choice” by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. Fannie Mae, Darden Restaurants, and the Southern California Edison Company were recognized as leaders in their regions for their commitment to and success at creating and maintaining inclusive legal departments. They will receive their awards at an event later this month.
3. Charleston Shooting and the Confederate Flag
Nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., were shot and killed by a white supremacist last week. The tragedy has sparked further discussions on race, terrorism, and particularly, the Confederate flag – which at the time of the shooting still few over the South Carolina state capitol. A movement to remove the Confederate flag from government property has spread from state to state, including calls from the governor of South Carolina and several 2016 presidential candidates. Read more about the race dialogue in the context of an African American president here.
The Atlantic, 6/22/15
Human bias often leads interviewers to hire candidates similar to themselves, resulting in homogenous workplaces. One way to combat these biases is to use a systematic analysis of data. Hiring algorithms can be used to collect behavioral information through a survey and then to compare the candidates’ results to those of current top-performing employees. Previous uses of this hiring process have led to significant increases in the numbers of Hispanic and African American employees.
USA Today, 6/18/15
Facebook is joining other Silicon Valley companies in testing a version of the Rooney Rule, a method the National Football League used to increase the diversity of its coaching staff. The Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate during searches for head coaches and general managers or face a harsh penalty. The technology industry struggles with minority representation and the Rooney Rule is a step toward improving numbers. However, because the policy only gets minority candidates into the interview, companies also need to address bias in the hiring process to be truly effective.
The New York Times, 6/17/15
The United States ranks 65th in the world for the accessibility and affordability of its legal services, according to the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index, tying with Botswana and Pakistan. Millions of Americans lack access to legal services, while at the same time, many lawyers are unemployed because the legal profession has failed to build out the middle. Part of the problem is the expense of law school – new graduates have so much debt they simply can’t afford to take lower-paying legal services jobs. For the same reason, young lawyers also often can’t afford to practice pro bono or “low bono.”