LCLD is happy to report that after two years of virtual meetings, LCLD Members were able to gather in person earlier this month at Harvard Law School for the annual Leadership Summit. This Members-only event provided an opportunity for 46 law firm leaders and in-house counsel to connect in-depth on their personal and organizational commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

LCLD Chair Ellen Dwyer’s opening remarks set the stage for the 46 Members in attendance, and David Wilkins, faculty director of Harvard’s Center on the Legal Profession, commended the 400+ LCLD Members who embraced the Leaders at the Front campaign and stepped up to answer the call to create change within their organizations.

Wilkins underscored the unprecedented opportunity that organizations currently have to move the needle on diversity—and lawyers, he added, are more important than ever. While Wilkins acknowledged that changes in the workplace as well as problems with the economy will exacerbate the complexity of responding to new adaptive challenges, this, he said, is why now is the time for bold action.

Over the course of the two-day Summit, leaders examined the areas of greatest impact in their Leader Pledges, including MP-GC collaboration, personal ownership, and accountability. They also discussed how best to operationalize their pledges.

With the help of speakers Scott Westfahl, professor of practice and faculty director for Harvard Law School Executive Education, and Farayi Chipungu, adjunct lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Summit turned to a conversation of how to diagnose one’s pledge through the lens of adaptive leadership, when a problem—along with its solution—is often unknown or hard to identify.

Westfahl and Chipungu also walked the leaders through various strategies of action they can take as they move forward with their pledges, with Chipungu observing that most sustainable change “is highly incremental.” LCLD Board Member Carlos Brown added, “You have to be prepared to lead where no one else wants to go.” 

As the Summit concluded, participants worked in small groups to brainstorm potential solutions to adaptive challenges common among their pledges—such as succession planning or sponsorship—and discussed ways to elevate the commitments in their pledges.  

LCLD Members will next gather in person at the 13th Annual LCLD Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C., on September 22-23, where we will talk more about how to transform tomorrow. Click here for more information.

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Photos by Jay Haas