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. Sara Lee's Ex-GC, Now at Firm, Calls for More Diversity 

Corporate Counsel, 12/31/15

In an interview with Corporate Counsel, LCLD Founding Chair Emeritus Rick Palmore discussed the challenges of being general counsel and the need for more diversity in the profession. In his new role at Dentons US LLP, Palmore said he will be working on the kinds of issues that “keep general counsel up at night” – multifaceted, strategic issues that take both legal expertise and good judgment. He also talked about LCLD and the important role it plays it promoting diversity as a key facet of talent, as well as persistent obstacles to diversity. “The [diversity] numbers can’t come fast enough to satisfy me,” Palmore said. “But one of my objectives was to change the way we talk about it, change that dynamic, and I think we’ve made much more progress in that regard.” 

2. The Ranks of Female Firm Leaders Are Growing – And So Are Their Dinner Parties

Bloomberg BNA, 1/8/16

When LCLD Member Jami McKeon became Chair of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in 2013, she was surprised at how scarce her female peers were – so she invited them to dinner. She and five other female chairs of leading law firms began meeting for dinner in early 2014 to discuss law firm strategy, current events, and the challenges unique to female leaders. Today there are as many as 12 women at McKeon’s dinners, but she says she looks forward to a time when there are so many women leading firms that it won't be practical to have them all at one dinner. Other LCLD Members among the ranks include Kim Koopersmith, Chairperson of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Stasia Kelly, Co-Managing Partner for the Americas at DLA Piper, Jerry Clements, Chair of Locke Lord LLP, and Elizabeth Temple, Chair and CEO of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP. 

3. The Recruiting Platform that Facebook Uses to Tackle its Diversity Problem

Fast Company, January 2016

“Tech companies are beginning to realize that in addition to just being the right thing to do, a diverse staff pays big dividends.” To that end, companies like LCLD Member organization Facebook, Inc. are finding innovative ways to bolster their diversity pipelines. Facebook uses Jopwell, a recruiting platform that helps companies find diverse candidates not just for tech positions, but for legal, sales, finance, and other positions to create more broadly diverse organizations.  

4. More Women in the Judiciary Means Justice for All

The National Law Journal, 1/11/16

Women now make up 35 percent of the federal bench, nearly one-third of district court judges, and 40 percent of state judges, and their impact is being felt. “It is no coincidence that in the past 35 years, as women’s presence on courts has increased dramatically, so too have extracurricular programs designed to prevent people from ending up on trial, including employment skills training, counseling, drug rehab, divorce mediation, and children’s corners.” The increase of female judges has also influenced the issues courts take, including more family law, foster care, and sexual discrimination cases. If this can happen at 30 percent, the author says, imagine the changes brought about by gender equality in the judiciary or critical mass at law firms. 

5. How Managers Can Promote Healthy Discussions About Race

Harvard Business Review, 1/7/16

The ability to discuss race in a healthy way is crucial for today’s leaders, but that doesn’t make it any less challenging. Experts provide three steps leaders can use to encourage productive discussions of race in the workplace:

  • Add value for trainings and discussions about race by placing them within the context of a long-term investment in inclusion.
  • Be prepared for conflict and practice good listening and mediation skills so conflicts become opportunities for growth.
  • Be proactive in talking to employees about their experiences with race at work; ask questions about what the company can do to create a more inclusive environment.