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.
FROM LCLD MEMBERS
How Diversity Makes Us Smarter
Scientific American, 9/16/14
Decades of research show that socially diverse groups are more innovative than homogenous groups, not just because it brings diverse perspectives to the table, but because diverse groups force their members to think differently. Participation in diverse groups ultimately challenges us to be better workers, problem-solvers, and creative thinkers.
Suggested reading from LCLD Founder Emeritus Rick Palmore
Storm on the Horizon?
LCLD Communications, 8/7/15
LCLD Board Member Mark Roellig collaborated with 1L Scholar Catherine Simes to evaluate diversity at top companies and law firms. They found that the general counsel at Fortune 500 and S&P 200 companies were generally more diverse than the equity partners at Am Law 200 firms. At MassMutual, they found that among outside counsel, though the lawyers working on their matters were more diverse, that did not translate to leadership roles or overall firm diversity. These findings suggest that law firms must take greater steps toward diverse leadership or risk losing business with major companies.
Written by LCLD Board Member Mark Roellig and 1L Scholar Catherine Simes
This week, in news related to diversity and inclusion...
GC Magazine, Summer 2015 issue
In an informal survey of leading general counsel around the world, LCLD Board Members Mark Roellig and Susan Blount were featured as GCs who are using their influence to foster diversity at major corporations. Mark outlines the importance of diversity for both moral and business reasons, including engagement with diverse customer bases. Susan notes that lawyers’ inherent focus on justice makes them well-suited to be advocates for diversity. Also mentioned is 2013 Fellow Valeria Chapa, Honeywell’s GC in Latin America, who stresses the importance of collaboration.
The New York Times, 8/7/15
LCLD Member corporations Microsoft and Bank of America are among a handful of companies recognized for generous paternity leave policies. The decisions of a few powerful companies to provide for new fathers is giving these policies more prominence, yet there are still cultural hurdles. There is little evidence regarding the benefits of paternity leave – mostly because few employers offer it – and thus far, few numbers of men in leadership roles take or speak about taking paternity leave.
Many believe that the lack of diversity in tech is a pipeline issue, yet data shows there are equal numbers of women in STEM programs at top universities, and high numbers of black and Hispanic students graduating with degrees in those fields. “The reality is that gender and racial bias is so ubiquitous in the technology industry that it forces talented female and minority employees to leave.” To address these cultural problems, the author suggests using outside firms to assess discrimination in pay and hiring practices, mandatory unconscious bias training, leadership training specifically for women and minorities, and mentoring programs.
The New York Times Magazine, 8/12/15
In an op-ed piece published just after its 50th anniversary, President Obama called for Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act, citing the continued existence of laws that prevent minorities from voting. “The Voting Rights Act put an end to literacy tests and other forms of discrimination, helping to close the gap between our promise that all of us are created equal and our long history of denying some of us the right to vote,” Obama wrote. “But…from the moment the ink was dry on the Voting Rights Act, there has been a concentrated effort to undermine this historic law and turn back the clock on its progress.”
Corporate Counsel, 8/11/15
In-house counsel careers are becoming increasingly attractive for women in Asia, according to recent research that found 59 percent of in-house lawyers in Hong Kong are women (compared to 25 percent at law firms). But despite their high representation, the proportion of women on boards and executive committees is still “strikingly low compared to Europe and the United States, even though women remain under-represented in those regions too.”
Chief Learning Officer, 8/10/15
Global leadership skills like cultural competency are increasingly important, yet the average starting age for entrants into company-sponsored leadership development programs is 42. The earlier in their careers that employees can learn these skills, the better leaders they are likely to become. Digital learning, collaboration with human resources departments, and local coaches (following a move to a new country) are key measures that can help develop global leaders early on.