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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LCLD Member Roger Furey, who recently took over as Chairman of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, says the legal profession needs to revive its focus on human interaction. This means reevaluating the use of the billable hour, finding new ways to evaluate lawyers, and creating a client service curriculum for associates that will improve client relationships and help associates see the trajectory to partnership. Furey also plans to facilitate engagement between partners and associates, update its technology, and build international relationships.
Working Mother Magazine, 7/11/16
Forty-three of the 50 Best Law Firms for Women are LCLD Member organizations. The rankings are based on representation in equity partnership, leadership positions, parity in compensation, business development opportunities for women, flexible work arrangements, and parental leave policies. The list is compiled annually by Working Mother Magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers.
This year, LCLD Member firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP began a 1L Diversity Scholars Program for 30 talented, diverse law students. The program is set apart by an early focus on inclusion and a mentoring component that pairs each law student with an associate and a partner to mentor them throughout the summer. The opening conference for the Scholars, held in April, featured LCLD Member and former At-Large Vice President Sandra Leung, who is the General Counsel at Bristol-Myers Squibb, as well as 40 Kirkland lawyers and 20 in-house attorneys.
Daily Business Review, 7/18/16
Female leaders at LCLD Member firms GrayRobinson, Greenberg Traurig, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, and Hinshaw & Culbertson are making waves in the Florida legal community. Two women will take over as Chair/President (and LCLD Members) at their respective firms; other firms are promoting programs that aim to change the firm culture to be more inclusive of women. “Miami is very receptive to people of all kinds of diversity because it is much more of a meritocracy than some other legal markets,” said Hilarie Bass, Co-President of Greenberg Traurig.
“Character – including integrity, resilience, work ethic, and common sense – is valued most highly in new lawyers,” according to a survey from the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System. Respondents said technical legal skills can be taught, but new lawyers need to start out with strong character. Since legal employers are character a priority, law schools that want to produce hire-able graduates will need to consider how to build character into the curriculum.
Harvard Business Review, 7/26/16
In a study of more than 800 U.S. companies, “when organizations cut positions rather than evaluate individual workers, they end up with an immediate 9-22% drop in the proportion of white and Hispanic women and black, Hispanic, and Asian men on their management teams.” This is because the jobs women and minorities tend to hold are often viewed as less valuable – mid-level management positions or corporate legal departments, for example – or they are more recently appointed than their white male colleagues. Executives can protect the diversity of their workforce during layoffs by focusing on individual performance reviews, while keeping in mind the diversity of those they layoff and those they retain.
The number of women promoted to partner at the U.K.’s top 10 law firms fell by more than 25 percent this year, as firm’s continue to struggle with the challenges of nurturing a strong pipeline of female legal talent. Thirty-two percent of the new partner class is female, down from 38 percent last year.