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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ABA Journal, 11/28/16
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association is putting together a hate crime tool kit for members as reports of hate crimes rise – including an incident experienced by Cyndie Chang, 2011 Fellow and President of NAPABA. Chang said she felt anxious and fearful after being told to go back to her country while standing on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. The South Asian Bar Association and the National Association of Muslim Lawyers are also developing resources to help members respond to incidents in their communities.
Pepper Hamilton Insight Center, 11/28/16
For the first time in its 126-year history, LCLD Member firm Pepper Hamilton LLP elected an all-female class of lawyers to the ranks of partner and of counsel, including LCLD Mentor Nilufer Shaikh. “The women we promoted today are all extraordinary lawyers,” said firm Chairman Thomas Gallagher. “It is doubly rewarding to see us continue to advance our commitment to diversity and inclusion at the same time.” The firm also noted that the legal profession as a whole still lags on representation of women in leadership positions.
Several national legal associations, including the National Association of Women Lawyers, the National LGBT Bar Association, and the National Bar Association, are urging the president-elect to “lead the nation towards unity and inclusion.” In an open letter, they write, “The work of our organizations continues to be critical, as we amplify the collective voice of women and men of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, and sexual orientations… We call on you to make diverse appointments to leadership positions on your transition team, to key positions in your administration and at every level of government, and to the federal judiciary.”
The New York Times, 11/30/16
Nearly half of law school students are women, yet they are primarily enrolled at lower-ranked schools, according to recent research. During the last academic year, 47 percent of students enrolled at top tier law schools were women, compared 53.5 percent at lower-ranked or unranked law schools. This is especially problematic because law school ranking “can make a significant difference in whether female law graduates land legal jobs that pay higher wages and afford long-term job security and professional advancement.”
The New Yorker, 11/26/16
As even tech giants seeking to increase their diversity struggle to improve representation, startups explore new solutions. Many of the areas they have identified resonate with the legal profession, including over-reliance on traditional credentials, hiring biases, and “culture fit.” While blind-hiring tools are beginning to address these issues in the recruitment process, there is still much room for improvement with respect to retention: “Merit-based technical-hiring tools open doors for people who would previously have been shut out. It’s on the rest of the industry to do the introspective, inefficient human work of figuring out how to keep them.”