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. A New Approach to Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

The Legal Intelligencer, 6/2/15

Firms and legal departments need to focus on leadership development in their diversity and inclusion initiatives, according to LCLD Diversity Professional Kimya Johnson. This approach shifts the focus from diverse individuals to a systems-oriented method in which everyone participates. It’s not enough just to give diverse attorneys leadership skills, Johnson writes; lawyers in leadership positions at all levels need to be involved in D&I initiatives. She lists LCLD Members and programs as a primary example of this approach.  

2. Eight Firms Where Women Thrive

The American Lawyer, 5/28/15

Several LCLD Member firms were identified for their advancement of women through a higher than average percentage of women in leadership roles, supportive top leadership, and a high level of grass-roots involvement:

  • Reed Smith LLP
  • Baker & McKenzie LLP
  • BuckleySandler LLP
  • Sidley Austin LLP
  • Quarles & Brady LLP
  • Bricker & Eckler LLP

LCLD Member Kurt Tunnell was recognized in particular for his efforts at Bricker & Eckler. 

3. 2015 Diversity Scorecard: Minorities Gain Little Ground

The American Lawyer, 5/28/15

The share of racial and ethnic minorities working for Am Law 200 law firms barely increased over the last several years. Minority lawyers made up 14.4 percent of the lawyers at the 220 firms surveyed, up just three-tenths of a percent from the previous survey. Click here to see the list of LCLD Members who were ranked in the top 20 for percentage of minority attorneys and partners.  

4. Muslim Woman Denied Job Over Head Scarf Wins in Supreme Court

The New York Times, 6/1/15

The Supreme Court voted 8 to 1 in favor of a Muslim woman denied employment at Abercrombie & Fitch because she wore a headscarf. The court said the woman did not have to make a specific request for a religious accommodation to obtain relief under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. 

5. Why Firms Need Three Women at the Top (Not Just One)

The American Lawyer, 5/28/15

For law firms, having a female chief executive sends a signal that the firm doesn’t have a glass ceiling. But if firms really want to make a dent in the compensation and promotion gap, the solution may be in the rung below: the number of women in key decision-making committees. Firms that had compensation committees with two or more women members typically also had near-parity in compensation and men and women equity partners, compared to firms with fewer women, where female equity partners typically earned 11-15 percent less than men. 

6. Law is the Least Diverse Profession in the Nation. And Lawyers Aren’t Doing Enough to Change That.

The Washington Post, 5/27/15

In a data-driven editorial, Deobrah Rhode, director of the Center on the Legal Profession, outlines the case for increased diversity in the legal profession and calls lawyers and leaders to act. Rather than citing pipeline problems or women’s disproportionate family responsibilities, she says leaders should implement the following strategies:

  • Hold individuals accountable for increased diversity numbers
  • Implement mentoring programs and unconscious bias training
  • Have strategies for assessing success of diversity initiatives and adapting based on the results
  • Above all, take personal responsibility for professional changes