We’re only a few hours into the new work week and another diversity and inclusion bombshell has dropped. In a letter sent yesterday to The American Lawyer and posted to the General Counsel for Law Firm Diversity Linked In page, these counsel explicitly say “we are disappointed to see that many law firms continue to promote partner classes that in no way reflect the demographic composition of entering associate classes. Partnership classes remain largely male and largely white.” https://www.law.com/americanlawyer/2019/01/27/170-gcs-pen-open-letter-to-law-firms-improve-on-diversity-or-lose-our-business/
Recall Inspiration #2 “Put me in, Coach,” where we discussed inclusion. This is exactly the message that these counsel are conveying. And these are not words to be ignored. But that is exactly what seems to happen time and again.
Case in point (and yes, we know it’s early, just 10:00 a.m. PT), as we write these words, this Linked In page is sporting only 107 followers and the post has a dismal 14 likes and 3 comments. To that, we say “really?” Why are law firms not lining up to support this message and post their own comments? We know words matter and we’re confident several PR teams are in the process of carefully crafting responses – but signs of acknowledgment, kudos and message acceptance are quick and easy.
Our message to you today is to act – and do so quickly. Here are a few recommendations:
- Read the letter and corresponding article and forward it along to your partnership, hiring directors, professional development teams and anyone else in a position of authority at your firm or company as yet another example of why diversity and inclusion is so important.
- Follow this Linked In group. It takes less than a minute.
- Craft a comment and post it to the group. This is not a moment where you want to be last firm standing.
- Review the letter for clients and immediately communicate with a direct, thoughtful response.
Of course, these are short-term message recommendations. Yet they can demonstrate your commitment to diversity and inclusion and should serve as a springboard to larger action of getting your D&I house in order (if you have not already done so). Failure to act could result in you becoming one of the firms who fall prey to this direct quote from the letter, “we, as a group, will direct our substantial outside counsel spend to those law firms that manifest results with respect to diversity and inclusion, in addition to providing the highest degree of quality representation.”