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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1. Quarles & Brady Named Best BigLaw Firm for Female Lawyers 

Quarles & Brady and Law360, 4/19/16

LCLD Member firm Quarles & Brady LLP was named the Best BigLaw Firm for Female Attorneys by Law360; LCLD Member Kimberly Johnson is the only female chairperson in the top 10. The firm has three female office managing partners, many women leading national practice groups, and 21 percent of its equity partners are women. LCLD Member firms Baker & McKenzie LLP; McDermott Will & Emery LLP; Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.; Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP; and Akerman LLP are also among the top 10.

2. Microsoft to Fund New Pilot Project to Improve Legal Aid

The American Lawyer, 4/19/16

LCLD Member corporation Microsoft Corp. is committing $1 million to fund pilot projects for online legal portals for low-income individuals through a partnership with the Legal Services Corp. and Pro Bono Net. The pilot websites will clarify the terms of receiving legal aid and provide access to pro bono services, state by state. Only about 20 percent of the civil legal needs of low-income people in the United States are adequately addressed, according to a Microsoft on the Issues blog post

3. 25 Years Later, Local Group Still Pursuing Cure for Rare Disease

Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/10/16

Joe Slay, LCLD Public Relations Consultant, has put his considerable talents to work raising money for spinal muscular atrophy research over the last 25 years. Now known as FightSMA, the nonprofit Slay and his wife started in 1991 has raised millions of dollars to finance research around the world for the incurable disease. While a cure has not yet been found, there are seven clinical trials ongoing, thanks in large part to funds raised by FightSMA. 

4. The Unintended Consequences of Diversity Statements

Harvard Business Review, 3/29/16

Creating and sharing a diversity statement may pull in more diverse job candidates, but it doesn’t mean the workforce actually gets more diverse – in fact, it may have the opposite effect. Job descriptions with pro-diversity statements lead minority applicants not to “whiten” their resumes. Yet when hiring, the pro-diversity organizations reject “unwhitened” resumes at the same rate as other organizations. “If appeals to diversity encourage applicants to reveal racial cues to an organization that has not adequately addressed discriminatory hiring practices, then pro-diversity statements may effectively expose minorities to greater discrimination.” The solution, the authors say, is not in getting rid of diversity statements but in actively addressing unconscious bias in hiring practices.    

5. Chief Justice Welcomes Deaf Lawyers into Supreme Court Bar

The Wall Street Journal, 4/19/16

Twelve lawyers from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association took the oath of admission to the Supreme Court Bar this week. “Our admission sets a precedent that will hopefully encourage others with disabilities to pursue a legal career and view the legal profession as being open to diverse backgrounds,” said Anat Maytal, president of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association. There are currently fewer than 300 deaf or hard-of-hearing practicing lawyers in the U.S., because of difficulties in receiving accommodations in law school, while taking the bar exam, and in courthouses.