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 Ranked No. 1 Out of 50 Top Employers by Diversity Magazine Readers

Workforce Diversity for Engineering & IT Professionals, 9/1/15

For the second year in a row, Microsoft Corp. was ranked the No. 1 workplace by readers of Workforce Diversity for Engineering & IT Professionals magazine, for its vocal approach to improving diversity in the tech industry. The full list will be released later this month.  

2. Lilly’s Bold New Conversation: Race, Society, and Work

The Huffington Post, 8/17/15

Just one day after nine African Americans were killed in Charleston, Eli Lilly and Company’s African American Network and Global Diversity and Inclusion Office hosted a forum to discuss the intersection of race, society, and work. The first event of its kind hosted by a Fortune 500 company, the forum looked at how unproductive bias and the need to “fit in” can be, as employees spend too much time focused on combatting stereotypes. Participants found that “structured conversations about race can be highly productive in voicing employees’ concerns, informing management perspectives, raising the bar for inclusion, and building camaraderie.” 

3. 5 Take-Aways from McKinsey’s ‘Diversity Matters Report’ For the Legal Profession

Above the Law, 8/28/15

McKinsey & Company recently published a report on diversity metrics at 366 public companies in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Latin America. Some of the report’s key findings include:

  • Diverse and inclusive workforces show 57 percent more collaboration among teams, 42 percent greater team commitment, and 19 percent greater intent to remain at that workplace.
  • Companies in the top quartile for racial/ethnic diversity were 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians (15 percent for gender diversity). 
  • Successful diversity programs differentiated initiatives by diversity group (rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach), linked diversity to other change management efforts, and continuously looked for potential “mindset barriers” to inclusion. 

4. Female CEOs Find Stock-Based Pay Harder to Get, Easier to Lose

Harvard Business Review, 8/28/15

“Female senior leaders were rewarded more weakly with stock-based pay when their companies improved, and are penalized more harshly when their companies stumble,” recent research found. “A 1% increase in firm value generates a 13% rise in firm specific wealth for female executives, and a 44% rise for male executives, while a 1% decline in firm value generates a 63% decline in firm specific wealth for female executives and only a 33% decline for male executives.” Some claim women’s lack of mentoring, smaller professional networks, and greater responsibilities at home are at fault, but the researchers found no difference in how companies with women leaders performed as compared to those led by men.

5. Once a Pariah, Now a Judge: The Early Transgender Journey of Phyllis Frye

The New York Times, 8/29/15

Phyllis Frye is considered the grandmother of the transgender movement. After years of cross-dressing, ridicule, and job and family rejection, she began living as a woman full-time in 1976 and pursued a law degree in order to give herself and others the tools to fight discrimination. Frye describes how she and others had to fight not only for respect and acceptance in society, but within the gay and lesbian movement itself, which initially rejected the transgender cause. Today, Frye is a part-time judge and has a private practice where she represents transgender people. Her experiences reflect the long struggle for transgender acceptance and the obstacles still left to overcome. 

6. Most Nations Miss a Goal for Women in Leadership

The New York Times, 8/31/15

Twenty years ago, world leaders set a goal of achieving 30 percent female representation in their legislatures. Yet out of 190 countries, only 44 have met that goal. Rwanda and Bolivia are among those who surpassed 30 percent; the United States, however, has only 19 percent female representation in the House of Representatives, and 20 percent in the Senate. Additionally, among the 193 heads of state who will convene at the United Nations General Assembly in late September, only 10 are women.