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. New Ideas on Training the Modern In-House Lawyer

LCLD and PD Quarterly, 11/20/15

In the November 2015 issue of PD Quarterly magazine, LCLD Program Director Lori Lorenzo and LCLD Board Member Mark Roellig describe the unique skills required of an in-house lawyer. They also offer new and improved ways of training the next generation of in-house attorneys, at the law school, law firm, and corporate levels. 

2. New Phila. Diversity Chief Will Draw from Law Firm Life

The Legal Intelligencer, 11/23/15

Nolan Atkinson, an LCLD Mentor and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Duane Morris LLP, was tapped this week to serve as the city of Philadelphia’s first-ever Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Atkinson says he learned many helpful lessons while leading diversity at a law firm, including the importance of identifying barriers to inclusion and focusing on promotion and retention in addition to recruitment. He will take his post in January 0f 2016. 

3. Corporate Equality Index 2016

Human Rights Campaign, November 2015 

Since 2002, the Human Rights Campaign has rated top American companies on their support of LGBT employees. Companies receive points for non-discrimination policies; sexual orientation and gender identity protections, both national and global; standards for contractors/vendors; equal benefits; training and policies to encourage LGBT inclusion; and ally groups. This year the legal profession was the highest-ranking industry, with 95 percent of top firms achieving perfect scores. 110 LCLD Member organizations, both corporations and law firms, received perfect scores. 

4. Starbucks Embarks on National Diversity Initiative in Ferguson

The Huffington Post, 11/20/15

LCLD Member organization Starbucks Coffee Company launched a new diversity in initiative in Ferguson, Mo. earlier this month. The company plans to open 15 new stores in diverse, medium- to low-income communities across the country over the next three years, partnering with local minority- and women-owned suppliers. In Ferguson, Starbucks is also piloting a customer service training program, helping participants gain a skillset they can use in many other jobs. 

5. Women, Black/African-American Associates Lose Ground at Major U.S. Law Firms

NALP, 11/19/15

The legal profession is making little progress increasing numbers of women and minority lawyers, particularly at the associate level, according to the 2015-16 report from the National Association for Law Placement. Significant findings include:

  • The percentage of women associates has remained flat since 2013, currently at 44.68 percent. The percentage of African-American associates has dropped every year since 2009, now at 3.95 percent. The percentage of Asian and Hispanic associates has increased slightly.
  • The percentage of women and minority partners has increased slightly, to 21.46 and 7.52 percent respectively. Minority women remain “dramatically underrepresented.” 

6. Need a Good Parental Leave Policy? Here It Is.

Harvard Business Review, 11/23/15

Parental leave may be inconvenient for employers, but it’s far worse to lose valuable team members over and over because of outdated policies. These best practices can help improve retention by making employees feel supported in taking family leave:

  • Offer the maximum amount of time financially feasible to both men and women.
  • “Early, often, and consistently” let people know that they are expected to take leave.
  • Where possible, use a three-meeting model to smooth the transition before employees take leave.
  • Develop plans for on-ramping after employees return.
  • Designate leave liaisons to help employees with the transition.