Whoa! Did you catch today’s article in Corporate Counsel entitled “Women GCs Face Sexism, Stereotypes From Firm Lawyers—And It Impacts Who They Hire”? If someone ever asks you to build the business case for diversity and inclusion, just forward this link (https://www.law.com/corpcounsel/2019/01/23/women-gcs-face-sexism-stereotypes-from-firm-lawyers-and-it-impacts-who-they-hire/) and point them to the second paragraph, which states “The sexism is having repercussions. Many female GCs have dropped sexist outside counsel or stopped hiring them. Lack of diversity at a firm, especially in leadership roles, is seen as a red flag.”
It’s appalling, but not a single bit surprising, that this type of behavior exists in a profession whose own mission is to “….eliminate bias in the legal profession, and the justice system.” And it’s time that we did something in our own firms to combat any discrimination based on gender. It’s not only the right thing to do, but your business depends upon it. So time’s up, people, it’s time to act. Here are two things that you can do now to start (or continue) your diversity and inclusion journey.
- Create an exceptional Women’s Initiative. If you don’t have women’s initiative, start one. If you have one already, use the New Year as an opportunity to take your program to the next level. And use Holland & Knight’s program (https://www.hklaw.com/womens-initiative/) as an example. It’s inspiring. And this is just what is published on their website. Imagine what is going on behind the scenes that we know nothing about.
- Schedule mandatory gender bias programming. Because gender bias can be conscious or unconscious and the only way to overcome this bias is to understand what it looks like – in all it’s forms. By the way, we just had a webinar last month by Susan Freeman entitled “Understanding Gender-Based Communication Styles.” If you log into the LMA website, you can watch it for free. (https://www.legalmarketing.org/p/cm/ld/fid=1884&blogaid=5391)
Good luck in your journey. And please reach out if we can help.