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.

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This week, in news related to diversity and inclusion...

1. ABA President Paulette Brown: ‘A Law Degree is More Than Just a Piece of Paper. It Is Power.”

ABA Journal, 2/8/16

Paulette Brown, President of the American Bar Association and LCLD’s Diversity Professional at Locke Lord LLP, spoke about diversity at the ABA House of Delegates’ midyear meeting. Her goal is to make the ABA “social engineers of justice,” and she spoke about the work the organization has already done in that direction: founding the Diversity & Inclusion 360 Commission to advance diversity in the profession, addressing implicit bias among judges, and a pro bono day of service in October. “The ABA showed the world that a law degree is more than just a piece of paper,” Brown said. “It is power. And we put that power to great use.”

2. The Gender Pipeline Problem at Law Firms

Bloomberg BNA, 2/12/16

Middle management is a potential talent pipeline for getting women into leadership positions in law firms. But it’s difficult to find national statistics on the diversity of regional leadership positions; in an informal survey of the top 10 law firms in the U.S., Bloomberg found that 19.8 percent of regional managing partner positions were filled by women, with LCLD Member Jones Day topping the list at 41 percent. Yvette McGee Brown, Jones Day’s Partner-in-Charge of Diversity, Inclusion, and Advancement, said, “Creating the culture that allows women to really succeed, that just breeds success.” 

3. How Scalia Changed the Supreme Court

The New Yorker, 2/13/16

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court’s longest-serving justice and one of the most influential in American history, died last week. Since 1986, Scalia championed the concepts of “originalism,” interpreting the Constitution as its writers understood it, rather than in the context of present society, and “textualism,” which has the courts focus on the words of the law rather than congressional intent. His death costs the Court its conservative majority; whether President Obama or his successor fills Scalia’s seat will have important implications for the direction of the Court in years to come.  

4. Mixed Marriages Are Changing the Way We Think About Our Race

The Washington Post, 2/17/16

While government surveys now allow respondents to check multiple boxes for race and ethnicity, Hispanic and Assian immigrants are thinking differently about their identity. A study of the Current Population Survey found that while 98 percent of first-generation Latin-American immigrants identify as “Hispanic,” those numbers drop off for second- and third-generation immigrants. Similarly, 96 percent of first-generation Asian immigrants identify as “Asian,” but only 79 and 57 percent of second- and third- generation immigrants identify this way. This new interpretation has implications for discussions of immigration and assimilation, and changes predictions of the growth of Hispanic and other populations in the U.S. in coming years.  

5. Slack Not So Lazy When It Comes to Diversity

Talent Management, 2/5/16

Tech company Slack is making waves, both for using the Rooney Rule to increase diverse hires and for its honest approach to diversity data. In a recent report, the company was open about slow progress in getting women and minorities in leadership roles, calling it a “glaring omission.” Why so much transparency? “Talking about diversity and inclusion keeps the issue front of mind for ourselves and our people…” Slack said in the report. “We will continue to regularly report our status so that we can be held accountable, and we will continue to look for ways in which we can improve.” 

6. Keeping Work Flexible Even With Changes to U.S. Overtime Rules

Harvard Business Review, 2/12/16

Employers are concerned that proposed regulations from the U.S. Department of Labor could affect employees with flexible schedules such as non-standard hours or remote work. Flexible work options not only benefit employees for obvious reasons, but can benefit companies by decreasing stress-related healthcare costs, improving retention, broadening the talent pool, and increasing job satisfaction and productivity. In order to avoid potential wage and hour pitfalls, companies should establish clear time-work guidelines, record all hours, and review reimbursement policies for teleworking and travel. For more information on the DOL rule, click here