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. Microsoft Hits Milestone in Partnership With Diverse Law Firms

Corporate Counsel, 11/1/16

Microsoft has spent more than $100 million with women- and minority-owned law firms since 2010, says Brad Smith, LCLD Chair and President of Microsoft. “This is an important time to support WMBE law firms,” Smith writes in a blog post. “Despite an uptick in law school enrollment among women and minorities, the legal profession in the United States has not kept pace with the growing diversity of our nation, particularly at the most senior levels of law firms.”

2. Diversity as a Growth Driver

Bench & Bar of Minnesota, 10/3/16

As a driver of innovation, 3M views diversity as a crucial business value, writes LCLD Member and General Counsel Ivan Fong. Within the legal department, Fong has led his team in a variety of discussions, events, and programs to promote a more inclusive workplace, including partnership with LCLD. “There is tough work ahead, but a more diverse and inclusive workforce will ultimately enrich our company’s culture, ensure our future competitiveness, and help us fulfill our potential as a company and as individuals,” Fong says.

3. How One Law Firm is Tackling Diversity

Forbes, 10/24/16

A new initiative at LCLD Member firm Nixon Peabody LLP requires that 20 percent of candidates for any open associate positions be diverse, says LCLD Member and CEO Andrew Glincher. Glincher said he also tries to make sure the first candidate he considers for a leadership position is diverse; the firm is also working on the retention of diverse talent. “It’s good that we’re being accountable to ourselves and that we’re measuring [diversity],” said Glincher. “But our ultimate success will be when we have a fully diversified workforce that we don’t need to keep measuring.”  

4. Chicago’s Top Law Firms Lack Diversity – And Clients Are Starting to Notice

Crain’s, 10/29/16

An alderman on the Chicago City Council called out a law firm for its lack of diversity in “a public display of what some companies tell their law firms in private: Improve diversity within your ranks or lose our business.” While the issue is now gaining broader coverage, other Chicago natives have been promoting diversity in the legal profession for decades, including Rick Palmore, LCLD Founder and Chair Emeritus, and David Wilkins, Director of the Center of the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School and a past Leadership Summit speaker.  

5. Corporate Board Diversity Gets Push from Business Leaders

The New York Times, 10/12/16

The Business Roundtable, a group of American CEOs, endorsed the business case for diversity in its 2016 governance principles. “Calls for greater boardroom diversity are nothing new. Yet the business group’s recommendation carries special weight. This is no academic exercise; it’s the view of C-Suite leaders… This recommendation is styled as a values-based change in practice that balances the demands of the competitive business environment and broader social goals.” 

6. Research Continues to Expose Implicit Bias

Inside Counsel, 10/31/16

More than 85 percent of Americans consider themselves unprejudiced; “implicit biases and associations do not necessarily align with our espoused beliefs or values, or even reflect stances we would implicitly endorse.” The growing body of research that shows the effects of implicit bias in hiring decisions, voting behaviors, leadership roles, and law enforcement, among many others, make it critical for lawyers to understand their own and others' biases. To test your own implicit biases, visit Project Implicit here.