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. Special Report: North American Innovative Lawyers 

Financial Times, 12/5/16

The Financial Times’ North American Innovative Lawyer report identifies those lawyers who are making a lasting impact on the legal profession, the business sector, and the world at large. Laura Stein, incoming LCLD Chair and General Counsel and Vice President of The Clorox Company, received the Innovative General Counsel award, while Mitchell Zuklie, LCLD Member and Global Chairman and CEO of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP was named among the top 10 most innovative lawyers in North America

2. How Law Firms Can Move Beyond Diversity Plan Hype

The American Lawyer, 12/5/16

Many legal teams are developing new diversity initiatives, but LCLD Member organizations Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and Intel Corp. are among the few who have actually followed up on results, writes Caryn Ulrich Stacy. Most organizations fail to follow up either because they believe their progress is insufficient, or because they are not tracking their progress at all. “The…underlying problem with the scarcity of follow-up announcements is that we are not learning from one another’s triumphs and missteps,” she writes. “‘Knowledge-sharing’ as a community could allow us to collectively solve the diversity challenge with greater speed and clarity.” Stacy suggests that when implementing a new diversity initiative, leadership should set both short- and long-term goals, internally measure progress, and publicly report findings on an ongoing basis. 

3. What Will Fix Legal’s Diversity Problem? Analytics Are the Start

Inside Counsel, 12/9/16

LCLD Member organizations Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Goodwin Procter LLP are exploring ways data can be used to promote diversity within their organizations. For example, Wal-Mart tracks the diversity of its outside counsel – not just among the individuals working on their matters, but of the firms as a whole. At Goodwin Procter, Laura Rees Acosta, Senior Manager of Diversity and Inclusion, said the firm is using data to identify “pain points and places where implicit bias and hidden barriers hinder diversity.” Having statistics on diversity can also help get buy-in from firm leadership on new diversity initiatives, she said. 

4. Op-Ed: The Roots of Implicit Bias

The New York Times, 12/9/16

According to recent research from New York University, “implicit bias is grounded in a basic human tendency to divide the social world into groups. In other words, what may appear as an example of tacit racism may actually be a manifestation of a broader propensity to think in terms of ‘us versus them.’” These hardwired biases can play out in a variety of ways, from racial groups to fans of competing sports teams. However, “we need not resign ourselves to a future of tribalism. On the contrary, our research suggests that people have the capacity to override their worst instincts – if they are able to reflect on their decision making as opposed to acting on their first impulse.” 

5. Answering the Call for Diversity in the Legal Profession

Bloomberg BNA, 12/9/16

Truly moving the needle on diversity in the legal profession will take concentrated effort on the part of its leadership, says Simon Robinson, President of Major Lindsey & Africa. For example, “lawyers have a tendency to hire based on cultural similarity, even if it means passing on a more qualified candidate,” he writes. “However, to create a diverse firm, leadership needs to proactively disrupt the cycle and develop their own network for recruiting diverse lawyers.” Other tips include tying diversity goals to compensation, holding unconscious bias training that sparks dialogue about diversity and inclusion, and realizing that a lack of diversity could mean the loss of business in the near future as clients push for greater diversity.