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. Microsoft GC Ups Bonus for More Diverse Outside Counsel

Corporate Counsel, 8/4/15

Brad Smith, LCLD Board Chair and General Counsel of Microsoft Corp., is increasing pressure on outside law firms to become more diverse. In order to participate in the company’s diversity program, law firms must not only add diverse attorneys, but put them in leadership positions, with the most diverse firm earning an additional bonus. “It is clear that it is time to pivot the next generation of our program, and that it’s important for our profession to focus on leadership,” Smith said. Click here to read his blog post on the Law Firm Diversity Program.   

2. In a First, Woman of Color Takes Reigns at ABA

Bloomberg BNA, 8/5/15

Paulette Brown started as President of the American Bar Association on Tuesday, the first woman of color to hold the position. Brown’s priorities include improving diversity within both the ABA and the profession and increasing emphasis on pro bono work. She is also a Partner and LCLD Diversity Contact at Member firm Locke Lord LLP

3. Top 10 Firms Where Minorities Succeed in Making Partner

Above the Law, 7/31/15

While hiring minority lawyers is important for improving diversity, the real test is whether the diverse lawyers rise through the ranks to leadership positions. The American Lawyer named the firms with the highest percentage of minority partners, which included the following LCLD Member organizations:

  • Munger, Tolles & Olson (19.8 percent minority partners)
  • Bowman and Brooke (16.2 percent minority partners)
  • Carlton Fields Jorden Burt (14.9 percent minority partners) 

4. 50 Best Law Firms for Women are Named

ABA Journal, Working Mother + Flex-Time Lawyers, 7/28/15

The 2015 list of the best law firms for women includes many LCLD Member organizations and represents some important improvements for female lawyers:

  • On average, 20 percent of the firms’ equity partners were women, and women held 27 percent of the seats on equity partner promotion committees.
  • Sixteen percent of the top 50 firms had at least three women among their top 10 rainmakers.
  • All top law firms offer reduced hours and 96 percent allowed reduced-hour lawyers to be eligible for promotion to equity partner. 

See the list of LCLD Members recognized here

5. The Voting Rights Act at 50

The New York Times, 8/5/15

For 48 years, the Voting Rights Act protected minority voters from discrimination, largely by requiring historically discriminatory state and local governments to submit any changes to voting laws for federal approval. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled this measure was no longer necessary. The ruling was immediately followed by a North Carolina law that removed key ballot-access features, like same-day registration and early voting, that were used disproportionately by black voters. Groups including the N.A.A.C.P. and the League of Women Voters are currently suing the state. 

6. Black Lawmakers Call for More Diversity in Silicon Valley

USA Today, 8/4/15

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus flew to Silicon Valley this week to encourage the nation’s largest tech companies to increase diversity. Representatives met with leaders at Apple, Intel, Google, Pandora, and other companies to discuss ways to improve the hiring record of an industry in which African Americans represent less than 2 percent of the workforce. Others note that while diverse hires are important, retaining them is key to improving workforce diversity.