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Maryanne Lavan: Building Diverse Teams

As the managing partners and general counsel of top law firms and corporate legal departments, LCLD Members are some of the most powerful legal leaders in the United States. But some of our Members go above and beyond in applying their leadership to advance diversity and inclusion at their organizations and in the broader legal profession. These individuals exemplify LCLD's mission to make the legal profession as diverse as the nation it serves. 

LCLD asked Maryanne Lavan, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, to share one of the most innovative, impactful ways her organization is advancing inclusion.  

1.  Provide a brief summary of your initiative. 

There are many options for producers of top-quality work, so you must tell your clients that diversity is a factor in getting the business or not getting the business. Before any new business is pitched, one of the first things we need to know is whether the firm is a Member of LCLD, and whether they are Mansfield certified. From there, we make it clear that we want to see LCLD Fellows and Pathfinders staffed on our matters and contributing in meaningful ways.

Over the past few years, a number of Lockheed Martin lawyers have gone through the LCLD Fellows Program or have participated in the LCLD Sustainable Partnership Program. Through these experiences, we learned firsthand the challenges faced by women and minority attorneys.

When we needed outside counsel to take over responsibility for all of Lockheed Martin’s trademark counseling and prosecution work, we knew LCLD Fellows and Fellows Alumni would be excellent candidates. We identified Washington, DC-area LCLD Fellows and Fellows Alumni with intellectual property expertise and sent RFPs directly to five of them. The RFP made it clear that their proposal should include (1) any alternative or flat fee arrangements and (2) how the firm would ensure that the attorney would receive credit for the work (e.g., origination or management credit).

The Fellow who ultimately received the work said this RFP has been the single most impactful event in her career to date, and she was especially moved by our requirement for her to receive credit for the work. 

2. What inspired you to take action on this element of D&I?

We are constantly looking for innovative ways to advance the diversity dialogue both internally and with our law firms. We thought that this would send a message about the strength of the LCLD Fellows and Fellows Alumni.

3. What makes your efforts innovative and different?

To our knowledge, we are one of the first corporations to direct work specifically to an LCLD Fellows Alumni, and to require the attorney to get origination or management credit, even if we were already using the law firm. 

4. Are there lessons you learned? Are there things you would do differently?

Yes, we should have thought of this sooner.

5. Has there been a ripple effect for your majority attorneys? 

Our majority attorneys have learned more about LCLD and the importance Lockheed Martin places on the LCLD Fellows, Fellows Alumni, and Pathfinders.

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