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. Minority Women are Disappearing from Big Law – and Here’s Why

ABA Journal, 3/1/16

Eighty-five percent of minority female attorneys in the U.S. will quit large firms within seven years of starting their practice, according to a recent study by the ABA. “Findings concluded that, in both law firms and corporate legal departments, women of color receive less compensation than men and white women; are denied equal access to significant assignments, mentoring, and sponsorship opportunities; receive fewer promotions; and have the highest rate of attrition.” LCLD Member firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. is recognized as one of few firms that truly provides an inclusive environment that addresses the unique needs of women of color.  

2. Zuckerberg Calls Defacement of Black Lives Matter Slogans at Facebook ‘Deeply Hurtful’

Mashable, 2/26/16

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of LCLD Member corporation Facebook, Inc., spoke out against employees who defaced slogans of “Black Lives Matter” written on a community wall at the Facebook headquarters. In his statement, Zuckerberg said, “ I was very disappointed by this disrespectful behavior… There are issues affecting the black community in the United States, coming from a history of oppression and racism. ‘Black lives matter’ doesn’t mean that other lives don’t – it’s simply asking that the black community also achieves the justice they deserve.” 

3. How to Make Diversity Work for You

Forbes, 3/1/16

Creating a diverse workforce takes effort, but the benefits – better decision-making, more innovation, and an increased bottom line – outweigh the challenges. To offset some of the costs, Deloitte offers the following suggestions for improving diversity efficiently:

  • Hire people who have different perspectives, skill sets, etc. from recruiters.
  • Better understand the numerous skills existing employees have.
  • Encourage people to share new and different ideas.
  • Implement reverse mentoring so that senior colleagues stay abreast of the latest trends.
  • Be open to new ideas, even if they come from outside the organization. 

4. Justice is Colorblind

The Journal Gazette, 2/28/16

In a piece encouraging minority students to consider a career in the legal profession, Indiana Judge Wendy W. Davis writes:

“Equal access to the judicial system is one of the pillars on which our society is built. For justice to be accessible to everyone, the legal profession in Indiana needs to do more to reflect our state’s remarkable ethnic, racial, and multicultural diversity... How can our neighbors trust fully in their right to justice when the legal system bears so little resemblance to them?" Davis also adds that lawyers have a role outside the courtroom as well: "The issue of diversity in the legal field goes ever further than the courtroom. Attorneys also have a habit of becoming community leaders. Attorneys have served our community as mayors, council members, and more.” 

5. Dad Time Important for Women’s Careers

The Durango Herald, 2/9/16

The countries with the highest percentage of women on corporate boards offer 11 times more paternity leave than the worst countries, according to research from the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “Even more intriguing is that countries with mandated maternity leave benefits were not linked with a greater share of women at the top, while more paternity leave was strongly correlated with the percentage of women on boards… It stands to reason that policies that allow child care needs to be met but do not place the burden of care explicitly on women increase the chances that women can build the business acumen and professional contacts necessary to gain more seats on the board.”