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. Diversity: Key to a Happier Legal Profession

LCLD Communications, 1/20/16

Diversity in our workforce and our ways of working is the key to a more effective legal profession, according to Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of New America and past LCLD Annual Meeting speaker, in a special commentary written for LCLD. Law school enrollment is down, many lawyers are unhappy with their jobs, and law firms are losing talent, particularly female talent, she explains. “Ways of working that leave room for lives outside the law will improve the productivity and quality of legal practice,” and will also make more room for diverse talent, Slaughter concludes. 

2. Inside America’s Boardrooms

The Wall Street Journal, 1/19/16

The Wall Street Journal breaks down the boards of Standard & Poor 500 companies by market capitalization, gender, independence, age, and tenure. Notable findings from the gender breakdown include:

  • Women make up 20 percent of all directors of S&P 500 companies.
  • Almost 75 percent of boards have at least two women directors.
  • However, women make up half or more of the boards of just three companies, and eleven companies still have all-male boards.  
  • LCLD Member organizations The Estee Lauder Companies Inc., Macy’s, Inc., and Wells Fargo & Company are among the top 10 companies for female representation on boards.  

3. Overcoming Obstacles to Diversity Through Conscientiousness

The Legal Intelligencer, 1/14/16

Despite increased dialogue about diversity in the legal profession and the creation of internal diversity initiatives, minorities are still “grossly underrepresented” in the profession. “To transcend the illusion of diversity and achieve meaningful integration of minorities into the field of law and achieve the benefits of diversity, the legal profession must overcome its own institutional and unconscious biases and move beyond the current diversity-by-numbers approach.” The author suggests making leaders accountable for attrition rates, addressing unconscious bias particularly in those who make hiring and promotion decisions, and making sure to give all members of the profession “a vocal and influential seat at the table.” 

4. Report: Legal Industry Still Lagging, but Forward-Thinking Firms are Thriving

Corporate Counsel, 1/11/16

The demand for legal services is stagnant and clients are pushing back on rates and efficiency, according to a recent report from The Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center. However, those firms that implemented new technologies and staffing strategies continue to perform well. For example, 71 percent of the highest performing firms used technology to monitor lawyers’ progress and budget status in real time. 

5. 2015 Year in Review: The Ongoing Fight for LGBT Equality

The Legal Intelligencer, 1/11/16

There were many victories for the LGBT community in 2015: same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.S., Ireland, and Mexico; California banned the “gay panic” defense; and public figures like Caitlyn Jenner, Pope Francis, and Tim Cook brought gay and transgender issues into the public eye. Yet there were and are still obstacles to LGBT equality, including the use of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act to discriminate against LGBT individuals; violence against LGBT individuals in the U.S. and abroad; and the defeat of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. In 2016, the author hopes headway will be made in addressing anti-transgender violence, LGBT homelessness, and employment discrimination.