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. Microsoft’s Legal Chief Trumpets Diversity Council’s Accomplishments

ABA Journal, 2/1/16

Brad Smith, LCLD Chair and President of Microsoft Corp., discussed his personal commitment to diversity, Microsoft’s inclusion initiatives, and the great work LCLD is doing. Smith shared highlights of LCLD’s success, including the record number of Fellows in 2015 and the launch of the Pathfinder Program, as well as his personal goal that LCLD have a direct impact on 10,000 people in the legal profession by 2020. “I don’t think that we’re going to build a more diverse profession simply by working harder,” Smith said. “We must innovate and work in new ways.” 

2. Nine Tips for Building a Diverse and Inclusive Law Firm

ABA, 1/28/16

Gary Sasso, LCLD Board Member and President and CEO of Carlton Fields, Nancy Faggianelli, LCLD Diversity Professional and Shareholder at Carlton Fields, and Tiffani Lee, 2012 Fellow and Partner at Holland & Knight LLP, weigh in on the benefits of diverse and inclusive law firms. Suggestions include:

  • Invest in diverse lawyers with training, feedback, access, and opportunities.
  • Have a diverse slate of attorneys for internal roles and positions, particularly leadership roles and case assignments.
  • Create professional development opportunities for associates, which will build an inclusive environment and attract more diverse attorneys. 

3. Sutherland Bolsters Diversity Initiatives with Two New Appointments, 2/2/16

2015 Fellow Vanessa Scott was named Chief Diversity Officer of LCLD Member firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP. LCLD Diversity Professional Lia Dorsey was also promoted to Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Scott and Dorsey will oversee diversity initiatives related to pipeline projects, recruiting and retention, and develop new strategic partnerships with the firm’s clients to help increase diversity throughout the profession.  

4. Intel Discloses Diversity Data, Challenges Tech Industry to Follow Suit

NPR, 2/3/16

LCLD Member organization Intel Corp. released a diversity report this week, highlighting the fact that in 2015, the company surpassed an ambitious diversity goal – that 40 percent of new hires would be women or underrepresented minorities. Strategies the company used to meet its goal include having female and black executives host hiring events and tying bonuses to diversity goals. The CEO says Intel’s success is proof that the pipeline problem in Silicon Valley is “overhyped.” The company aims to reach “full representation” of the of the available talent pool by 2020. 

5. LGBT-Inclusive Companies Are Better at 3 Big Things

Harvard Business Review, 2/2/16

LGBT inclusion is an important business asset, according to a report from the Center for Talent Innovation:

  • Not only do LGBT-inclusive companies attract and retain more LGBT employees, but 72 percent of LGBT allies say that, “all else being equal, they are more likely to accept a job at a company that is supportive of LGBT employees than one that is not.”
  • Critical majorities of both LGBT individuals and allies are more likely to buy from companies that support LGBT equality.
  • LGBT employees are much more likely to understand the LGBT market, which has a global buying power of $3.7 trillion. 

6. Traditional Law Firm Model to Decline by 2020, Law Society Report Finds

Solicitors Journal, 1/28/16

By 2020, the Law Society of the United Kingdom expects upheaval in the legal profession. Changes include decline of the traditional law firm model, more solicitors working in-house and in BRB markets, and backlash against US/UK dominance of the global market. Technology is expected to spur automation of routine work and revolutionary changes in big data and communications. The Law Society recommends solicitors “differentiate themselves from other providers on the basis of quality, specialization, and value.”