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How to Collaborate and Measure for Success

When Matt Lepore joined chemical giant and LCLD Member corporation BASF in 2014 as Senior Vice President and General Counsel, one of his top priorities was to increase diversity with his outside counsel. Twenty-five of the company's law firms were selected to take part in a statistical analysis.

Lepore and his team wanted data that was relevant and actionable, so that the information collected could serve as the basis for constructive conversations with BASF's firms.

The starting point was the 2016 data that BASF had collected for the American Bar Association's Model Diversity Survey (ABA Resolution 113). Lepore and team worked with LawyerMetrix, a third party consultant, to create a simplified, at-a-glance report that would be easy to use in discussions with each of its firms.

At the end of the year, each firm received a copy of that report, called the Diversity Snapshot, which included: 

  • A comprehensive metric, the BASF Legal Diversity Factor Score, to assist in tracking the firm's diversity and inclusion efforts. Points were awarded for the level of diversity among relationship partner(s), firm-wide leadership, firm-wide headcount, and work performed by BASF. Scores range from 0 to 100. 
  • Comparative measurements that showed the firm's overall performance relative to the full group of 25 selected firms.
  • Breakdown of all firm attorneys by work level (all attorneys, partners, and associates) and diversity. In its first year, BASF highlighted only attorneys of color and women attorneys; they plan to broaden the analysis in later years to address other groups, such as LGBTQ and veteran attorneys.
  • Snapshot of the firm's BASF team, divided by diversity and work level. 

“The ability to take raw data and turn it into a usable, helpful report was invaluable because we did not have the internal capacity at BASF to create the algorithms needed to analyze that volume of data quickly, efficiently, and in a user-friendly format,” said Sneha Desai, Deputy General Counsel for Litigation at BASF, of the Diversity Snapshot. 

After compiling Snapshots for 25 firms, Lepore and Desai met personally with each of them. 

  Above is an excerpt from a sample Diversity Snapshot. See the full Snapshot below. 

“The GC's presence at each and every meeting sent a strong signal that diversity and inclusion at BASF is important, and we are expecting results,” Desai said. And while the Snapshots will be used to track firms' progress year-over-year, BASF did not intend to use the first year's data in a punitive way. Instead, Desai and Lepore hope these meetings lay the groundwork for ongoing collaborative conversations. 

To ensure that both measurement and collaboration continue, BASF updated its Outside Counsel Diversity Program with a new set of diversity goals and requirements, including:

  • Growth in the percentage of diverse attorneys at the firm.
  • Growth in the number of diverse attorneys in firm leadership roles. 
  • Partnering with BASF to train and mentor diverse attorneys for significant client exposure. 
  • RFPs that include staffing models with attorneys of diverse backgrounds.
  • Completion of the ABA Model Diversity Survey.
  • Participation in the Mansfield Rule
  • Annual review of firm's diversity progress, using the Diversity Snapshot generated by BASF, at client relationship meetings.

Questions about BASF's Diversity Snapshot may be directed to Sneha Desai (BASF) or Evan Parker (LawyerMetrix).


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