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Beyond Diversity Inclusiveness In The Legal Workplace

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Published Wednesday, October 15, 2014

 Why is it so hard for the legal profession to act on what we know about the benefits of working in an environment that reflects the diversity of those we provide services to?

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Published Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Too often, white men are not included in conversations about diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. In order to advance diversity and inclusion, everyone should be included in the conversation, especially white men. Given their power and authority, white men are in the best position to effect change and influence others.

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Published Thursday, October 2, 2014

Employers and potential employers have more power than they think in helping to narrow the confidence gap between men and women in the workplace.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/diversity-diva/article2201449.html#storylink=cp
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Published Wednesday, October 1, 2014

At the tail-end of a discussion about the treatment of female lawyers by their male counterparts, a young female attorney stood and asked: "What about discrimination that happens at the hands of another woman attorney? Does that still happen?" Sadly, the whispered responses from around the room indicated the answer is still an embarrassed "yes." Later, we asked women attendees at another conference the same question and received the same answer. Uh-oh. Houston, we have a problem.

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Published Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working.

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Published Friday, September 26, 2014

New academic research uncovers certain gender biases when it comes to flexible-work arrangements. Can HR level the playing field for workers struggling to strike that delicate balance between work and home?

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Published Thursday, September 25, 2014

Humans make quick decisions. We react reflexively to strange, threatening and potentially life-threatening situations. It’s part of how we survive. Less dramatically but more frequently, we have routine interactions where we meet someone and later realize we’d gotten a “good” or “bad” impression about that person. Maybe this “feeling” translated into an instant like or dislike, all based on an encounter that lasted only a few seconds. But they can affect whether and how we choose to interact with individuals afterward.

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Published Monday, September 15, 2014

The good news with respect to law firms, especially larger law firms, is that direct and intentional barriers to success at law firms have been largely identified and corrected over the last couple of decades. However, the barriers caused by unconscious bias are still strongly entrenched within the legal profession. This statement is not meant to condemn law firms or the managing bodies of those firms because it is nearly impossible to exist as an individual or an organization composed of individuals without having some aspect of hidden or unconscious bias. However, any firm that wishes to address this issue can take steps to do so.

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Published Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Women face double standards that force them to balance between showing too much strength and not enough. Employers can help drive needed cultural change.

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Published Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Being outside the predominant group can be difficult, and the challenges minority employees face often contribute to high turnover rates. But there are several cost effective techniques talent leaders can use to help keep diverse works. The article provides five ways a manger can engage, inspire and lead a diverse and high-performing workforce.

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Published Monday, September 9, 2013

As women attorneys reach the higher rungs on the corporate law department ladder, they are still having trouble getting paid as much as their male counterparts, a new survey indicates.

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Published Monday, September 9, 2013

Harvard Business School conducted a two-year case study wherein it gave itself a gender makeover -- changing its curriculum, rules and social rituals to foster female success for both the HBS class of 2013 and faculty.

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Published Monday, July 15, 2013

With new momentum for same-sex marriage from the Supreme Court, gays and lesbians are hoping for progress in another sphere: the workplace. In more than half the country, it's still legal to fire people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Published Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Courageous men in leadership see what a shift in gender dynamics means for both women and men, and for leaders who see the big picture and the downside of not acting. Courageous, inclusive leaders are willing to seize the opportunity to create winners out of everyone. They are stepping out front, often at the risk of being unpopular. This isn’t about doing the right thing—it’s about doing the smart thing.

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Published Monday, July 1, 2013

Women who want a corner office must get over work-life balance and embrace work-life blend says Teresa Taylor, author of The Balance Myth: Rethinking Work-Life Success and a former chief operating officer of Qwest Communications International Inc.

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Published Monday, July 1, 2013

NPR's Code Switch series on race, culture and ethnicity aired this episode about the U.S. changing perception of race. While things are improving for people of color in the U.S., we are not a color-blind society. The program discusses Supreme Court decisions in Fisher and re the Voting Rights Act, as well as bias.

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Published Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Pew Research Center survey finds lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults are optimistic about increasing social acceptance. Yet many still report feeling stigmatized by family, friends, employers and their place of worship. 

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Published Tuesday, June 18, 2013

People of color and women need positive, supportive and fair mentors not "crabs in a barrel" or "queen bees" that pull up the ladder.

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Published Monday, June 10, 2013
The percentage of minority lawyers at large firms isn't shrinking. But it's not growing, either.The American Lawyer's recent survey of the largest U.S. law firms reports lawyers of color made up 13.9 percent of lawyers at the 228 firms that responded to its survey. The number is finally back up to 2008 pre-recession levels. More.
Published Monday, March 4, 2013

According to The American Lawyer women are making new gains in partner promotions in 2013. They created the Women Partner Watch - an interactive chart based on a simple question: How many women make partner at the United States' largest law firms these days? As of February 22, 66 firms promoted 717 new partners, 250 (35 percent) were women. The chart will be updated throughout the year and it does not reflect equity-versus-nonequity partners. breakdown. 

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Published Saturday, March 2, 2013

According to NALP's recent survey of attorneys working part-time, 98% of all law firms in 2012 allowed part-time schedules either as a formal policy or on a case-by-case basis. However, very few attorneys work on a part-time basis - just 6.2% of lawyers were working part-time, and most of them, over 70%, were women. Non-associate, non-partner lawyers have the highest part-time utilization rate.  

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Published Friday, March 1, 2013

Vault and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association report the number of black associates is declining. African-Americans made up 5.1% of law firm associates in 2007; in 2011, that number fell to 4.4%. The article suggests the drop is attributable to the unlikelihood of African Americans making partner at a BigLaw firm. In 2011, law firms reported that less than 3% of attorneys promoted to partnership were African-American. 

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Published Friday, March 1, 2013

In today’s world, success is catalyzed by high degrees of communication, collaboration andcoordination – competencies in which women often excel.

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Published Monday, January 28, 2013

Nearly everyone in legal education expected the number of law school applicants to fall of this academic year. But they weren't prepared for this. As of mid-January, there has been a 20 percent decline since last year (and 2012 was hardly a banner year itself, as the number of applicants fell by nearly 14 percent) if the trend holds through the final months of the admission cycle, law schools would see a 38 percent crash since their peak in 2010.

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Published Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Many women's voices have been heard about why women lag behind men and, though rarely enlisted, men generally have a different perspective on the subject. Men point to "[m]anagement mind-set, leadership criteria, and career management processes" as the top three obstacles to better gender balance, whereas women attribute it to "[s]elf-criticism, lack of confidence, and self-selection out of promotion pools." Gender consultant Avivah Wittenberg-Cox recommends more women and women's initiatives enlist men since they can partner on this front and help adapt organizational systems.

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Published Friday, January 11, 2013

The Harvard Business Review blog identified six difficult paradoxes women leaders continue to face that complicate positive progress for greater advancement and parity for women in 2013.

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Published Thursday, January 3, 2013

Women serving in firm leadership positions at The Am Law 100 are still very much in the minority. Their numbers are depressingly low as firm wide managing partners or chairs, as members of a chief governing body or a compensation committee, and as heads of a practice or an office. Firms reported that there aren't enough senior women partners or rainmakers to populate these positions and that it's a common problem among peers.

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Published Monday, December 17, 2012

Though stories abound about how freshly minted lawyers have been having trouble finding work recently, Laurel Bellows, the president of the American Bar Association, says she's hopeful: "I want them to stay in the practice of law," she said. One solution she proposes is to have younger attorneys team up with older lawyers who have been forced into retirement by their firms.

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Published Monday, December 10, 2012

Law firms with 101 to 250 attorneys fare worse in terms of diversity than large and small firms with only 4.65 percent minority partners and 15.05 percent minority associates. However, midsize firms are uniquely positioned for improvement because they are big enough to provide a pool of diverse attorneys and small enough to foster a sense of community and inclusion.

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Published Friday, November 16, 2012

A recent report by the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) Foundation says women's affinity groups need more funding and strategic goals to be more effective. NAWL surveyed Am Law 200 firms regarding finances, activities, and oversight of women’s affinity groups.

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Published Thursday, November 15, 2012

The latest diversity league table from the Black Solicitors Network reports that while some UK firms near a 50/50 male-to-female partner ratio, there is still a large disparity in female representation between law firms’ junior and senior ranks.

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Published Thursday, November 15, 2012

In March, the Human Rights Campaign contacted every Am Law 200 firm (based on The American Lawyer's 2011 rankings) and invited them to participate in a web-based survey covering LGBT–relevant policies and practices. The resulting index rates 145 law firms—141 of them Am Law 200 firms—with 71 firms receiving perfect scores.

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Published Thursday, November 15, 2012

Anne-Marie Slaughter author of the controversial Atlantic article Why Women Still Can't Have It All, recently published Work-Life Balance as a Men's Issue, Too - a follow up article about men's reluctance to voice desire for a balanced career. With respect to the legal industry, The Careerist (a popular blog about lawyers), agrees men need to join the conversation but thinks fewer in Big Law and Wall Street will be change agents. 

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Published Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Do parents get a better deal in the office when it comes to work-life balance? An increasing chorus of workers says yes. A recent article in The New York Times garnered hundreds of comments reflecting conflicting viewpoints on how to address the perceived inequity.

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Published Friday, October 26, 2012

According to a new Catalyst study, more women than men invest time and energy in helping others move up the career ladder. 

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Published Thursday, October 25, 2012

Female partners comprise just 23.5 percent of all partners and 9.4 percent of all equity partners across the UK’s largest 100 law firms.

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Published Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A special Gallup report finds that 3.4% of U.S. adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), with the highest incidence among those who are non-white, younger, and less educated. The findings are based on the largest representative sample of LGBT men and women ever collected. Unlike Census data, which looks only at same-sex couples, Gallup collected data based on more than 120,000 interviews of adults in the US.

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Published Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Women make up barely 15 percent of equity partners, and just 26 percent of nonequity partners in the nation's 200 largest firms. Overall, they represent 46 percent of associates, 35 percent of counsel, and 70 percent of staff attorneys, according to the National Association of Women Lawyers 2012 report.

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Published Monday, October 22, 2012

People of color too often feel that they have to hide their true selves at work, according to a new research report. More than 35% of African-Americans and Hispanics, as well as 45% of Asians, say they "need to compromise their authenticity" to conform to their company's standards of demeanor or style. One third of people of color overall — feel like outsiders in their corporate culture, compared with 26% of Caucasians.

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Published Friday, October 5, 2012

Legal industry experts are concerned about women’s enrollment in law school, which has been on a steady decline since 2002. Many women undergraduates are choosing other professional careers because women lawyers are do not have as many opportunities for success, leadership and receive less pay than their male counterparts.

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Published Monday, September 24, 2012

A 2012 partner compensation survey by Major, Lindsey and Africa reports there is a 30% gap between the average compensation of male and female partners, with male partners earning $734,000 on average and the average female partner earning $497,000. Both billed roughly the same number of hours on average (1,690 men and 1,670 women). Jeffrey Lowe, the author of the report, says the reason for the gap has to do with origination fees (male partners report almost 50 percent more originations) and the simple disarming fact that women still make less than men even when they have similar books of business.

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Published Monday, September 10, 2012

As General Motors’ first chief diversity officer, Ken Barrett is determined to connect diversity and inclusion to business growth for the global automaker. Barrett discusses the role of Chief Diversity Officers, how inclusiveness is the long-term goal rather than "counting heads", getting white men on board, and making D&I sustainable.

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Published Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Convincing non-diverse lawyers, who are the decision-makers in most legal organizations, that diversity really matters in the business and practice of law is one of the biggest challenges to advancing diversity in the legal profession. Advocates have learned that arguments predicated on altruism are rarely useful since many lawyers don’t ascribe to the moral or ethical case for diversity. The traditional business case for diversity is not working well either. . . .Taking diversity efforts to the next level requires more compelling answers to the question of “why” diversity is essential in the practice and business of law. Those answers can be found in cutting-edge theory and research studies.

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Published Monday, August 27, 2012

The number of minority general counsel in the Fortune 500 hit an all-time high in 2011 . According to the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, that elite circle now includes 47 minorities,  four more than in 2010. "At 9.4 percent of the total, this is the most minorities ever to serve in the post," says the MCCA press release. That's sounds great—until you realize that minority GC rates are still below the 10 percent mark.

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Published Monday, August 27, 2012

Diversity efforts have historically been based on numbers, tapping a diverse talent pool in an attempt to get some lawyers of color in the door, according to diversity experts. In many cases, those efforts were measure by anecdotal evidence only. Today diversity leaders like Kathleen Nalty are calling for a renewed focus on true inclusion and retention to ensure that minorities and those historically underrepresented in the legal profession are not only at the table, but that they are mentored, promoted, networked, and their voices truly heard. As executive director for the Denver-based Center for Legal Inclusiveness (CLI), Nalty is dedicated to the cause of helping law firms pick up what she describes as “the second half of the equation—advancement and retention.”

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Published Monday, August 27, 2012

Is going in-house the trifecta for many women attorneys? Do they find satisfying, challenging work for a business, escape the tyranny of the billable hour and the dismal
advancement rates within law firms for women. That the percentage of women general counsel in the Fortune 500 (20 percent) edges out the percentage
of women equity partners in The Am Law 200 (15 percent) helps support the rosier view.

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Published Monday, August 27, 2012

Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel and senior vice president, Legal and Corporate Affairs, speaks about diversity and inclusiveness in a Q&A that covers the business case for diversity, giving teeth to initiatives, expectations for outside counsel, and more.

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Published Friday, July 27, 2012

A law school professor who served on the legal team that defended the University of Michigan Law School admissions policy in Grutter v. Bollinger says a racially diverse student body is still a compelling state interest for colleges and universities. He cites examples of how a diverse student body helped him teach more effectively in such courses as legal ethics and evidence.

legal team that defended the University of Michigan Law School admissions policy in Grutter v. Bollinger

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2012/07/16/essay-significance-diversity-classroom#ixzz2CgjElX26
Inside Higher Ed
Fisher v. University of Texas, which asks whether that university’s use of affirmative action in admissions passes constitutional muster. I served on the legal team that defended the University of Michigan Law School admissions policy in Grutter v. Bollinger, where the Supreme Court held that fostering a racially diverse student body is a compelling state interest that colleges and universities can pursue in a narrowly tailored way. I believed that the Court correctly decided Grutter when I was helping to litigate the case, but I believe it even more firmly in my newer role as a law school faculty member.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2012/07/16/essay-significance-diversity-classroom#ixzz2CgigZHky
Inside Higher Ed
Fisher v. University of Texas, which asks whether that university’s use of affirmative action in admissions passes constitutional muster. I served on the legal team that defended the University of Michigan Law School admissions policy in Grutter v. Bollinger, where the Supreme Court held that fostering a racially diverse student body is a compelling state interest that colleges and universities can pursue in a narrowly tailored way. I believed that the Court correctly decided Grutter when I was helping to litigate the case, but I believe it even more firmly in my newer role as a law school faculty member.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2012/07/16/essay-significance-diversity-classroom#ixzz2CgigZHky
Inside Higher Ed
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Published Monday, July 23, 2012

The National Law Journal's NLJ 250 survey data from 221 firms reports women represent 15.1 percent of equity partners. Among all partners — equity and nonequity — the figure is 18.8 percent. That's progress since 2003, when NLJ affiliate The American Lawyer compiled similar data.

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Published Monday, July 23, 2012

A diverse workforce combines workers from different backgrounds and experiences that together breed a more creative, innovative, and productive workforce. And businesses have learned that they can draw upon our nation’s diversity to strengthen their bottom line. In this way, diversity is a key ingredient to growing a strong and inclusive economy that’s built to last.

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Published Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gender inequality in the workplace isn’t necessarily men’s fault, but that doesn’t mean men can’t help fix it. A new study by Catalyst reports white men's' attitudes about diversity and inclusiveness dramatically changed after they received diversity and inclusion training.

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Published Thursday, June 14, 2012

Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) announced its 2012 recipients for its "Gold Standard" award. Fifty firms made the cut this year, up from last year's 32. To make the list the firm must meet at least three of the six criteria for women holding leadership and power within the law firm. Firms with 100 or more lawyers are eligible for consideration.

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Published Thursday, June 14, 2012

Over a six-month period women were more successful than men when applying for some judicial appointments up to and including those in the High Court, according to the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) in the UK. The JAC research looked at 13 selection exercises completed between October 2011 and March 2012, with figures showing that women secured 43% of District Judge (civil) roles even they made up just 19% of the eligible pool of candidates.

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Published Monday, June 11, 2012

As today’s leaders face an unprecedented multi-generational mix of workers, the challenge is that each generation brings differing expectations to the workplace. Skilled leaders have to account for varying expectations, work styles and communication preferences.

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Published Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Female lawyers are no longer a small minority at Hong Kong firms. And they're no longer just populating the lower ranks.

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Published Friday, June 1, 2012

A brief filed Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court seeks to shake up the legal and political calculus of a case that could determine the constitutionality of programs in which colleges consider the race or ethnicity of applicants. In the brief, four Asian-American organizations call on the justices to bar all race-conscious admissions decisions, arguing that race-neutral policies are the only way for Asian-American applicants to get a fair shake.

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Published Thursday, May 31, 2012

To tackle the disproportion of women lacking in top senior and leadership positions, most companies offer mentoring programs, networking among women, and women's leadership programs focusing on topics like self-promotion and personal branding. These rarely work, and they breed cynicism.

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Published Thursday, May 31, 2012

The legal profession’s efforts to boost diversity have been praised in a new report by former cabinet minister Alan Milburn, who says law is taking genuine steps to support social mobility and urges banking and accountancy firms to follow suit. In a progress report published this week, Milburn (pictured) - the Government's independent adviser on social mobility - highlighted coordinated outreach programs such as PRIME and moves to collect socio-economic data as positive steps forward.

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Published Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Women want to succeed, yet even when they do “all the right things” Catalyst has found that they earn less and progress more slowly than men. The fact that some women adjust their career advancement strategies after crashing into institutional barriers is a rational response to inhospitable workplaces. It is not an example of a lack of ambition.

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Published Wednesday, May 9, 2012

According to the American Bar Association, the legal profession has the least representation of racial and ethnic diversity than all professional careers. Diverse attorney attrition is another troublesome issue in the legal industry. To combat these trends in law, the Center for Legal Inclusiveness (CLI) was founded by a group of Denver-area lawyers and professors in 2007. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, the CLI is taking a focused approach on working to improve the retention and advancement of diverse attorneys by helping legal organizations create more inclusive workplaces.

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Published Monday, April 30, 2012

Diversity and inclusion efforts can play a positive role in a firm’s culture. Here are five steps diversity leaders must take to ensure diversity is properly embedded.

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Published Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Without the institutional support seen at law firms, many barristers find the feast or famine nature of the job makes the work/life balance difficult to achieve. Ben Rigby reports.

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Published Monday, April 23, 2012

More than a decade after minority groups first started pushing for more diversity among federal law clerks, legislators on Capitol Hill are questioning why the latest statistics from the federal courts show a move in the opposite direction.

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Published Friday, April 6, 2012

A number of recent books and media attention are focusing on the rise of women and the negative impacts on men. The Richer Sex and Manning Up are fascinating accounts of a tipping point in gender relations that has developed before our eyes.

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Published Monday, March 26, 2012

They've got societal support, savoir faire, and innate chic. So why shouldn't French women be making greater strides in their careers too? In fact, they've passed a notable milestone in the legal arena. According to The Lawyer, there are now more French women than men in the Paris bar. In fact, "over half of all female lawyers in Paris (52.7 per cent) are associates in large firms, compared to 31.4 per cent of men," says The Lawyer, reporting on a recent study by the Paris bar. So women lawyers in France must be way ahead of their soeurs américaines, non? Pas du tout. Sadly, it's a familiar story: lots of women in the junior ranks, but few in partnership—except that the gap seems even worse in France.

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Published Monday, March 26, 2012

New initiatives at top 20 firms include flexi-working and mentoring:  Herbert Smith, Hogan Lovells and Addleshaw Goddard are among a host of firms rolling out new initiatives to help retain and promote more female lawyers, with the moves coming as businesses face increasing pressure to up the number of women on boards.

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Published Monday, March 12, 2012

The United States Supreme Court recently agreed to take up the case of Fisher v. University of Texas.  The case will once more put the issue of affirmative action squarely into national focus just eight years after the Court upheld the use of race in the University of Michigan’s admissions decisions in Grutter v. Bollinger.   By a 5-4 vote, the Court in Grutter upheld the use of race in university admissions, but placed strict limits on the practice.  Now that the composition of the Court has changed, attention will fall on Justice Kennedy, the current Court’s critical swing vote.  Since recent appointee Justice Kagan has recused herself from the case, on account of her participation in these cases in her previous role as solicitor general, the stakes are higher than ever.   One way or the other, Justice Kennedy will decide the fate of affirmative action.   His dissenting opinion in Grutter is a roadmap to the outcome in Fisher.

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Published Friday, March 9, 2012

Check out the first-year associates at your firm. Can you guess who will eventually make partner—those grads from the tippy-top law schools, or the ones from the local-yokel schools?

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Published Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fennemore Craig PC and other small and midsize firms boast significantly higher percentages of women partners than global powerhouses, a Law360 survey has found, revealing female lawyers can more easily defeat stereotyping and find flexibility outside BigLaw, experts said.

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Published Tuesday, February 14, 2012

As a general rule, attorneys are good talkers. We argue, chit-chat, joke, pontificate, try to persuade or seek to justify a position as rational. This attribute is evident in litigation, negotiation, and counseling. Dialogue is what we do. I count myself in that group, and yet, as I have been reflecting on my 20-plus years in practice and my 15 years as an in-house lawyer, there is one topic I cannot recall discussing between in-house and outside counsel. The unspoken topic is not one of the usual social taboos, but rather, it’s ... diversity.

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Published Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Many large corporations are making significant progress in bringing diversity to their legal departments and creating opportunities for women of color to advance, but a panel of women lawyers in corporate leadership positions told a packed audience today that women also need to take control of their careers if they want to advance up the corporate ladder.

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Published Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Most large law firms have made part-time schedules available to their experienced lawyers for many years, but overall the number of lawyers working part-time continues to be very small, and in fact the number edged down in 2011 for the first time since NALP began compiling these figures in 1994.

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Published Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Earlier this month, Microsoft general counsel and executive vice president of legal and corporate affairs Brad Smith took to the company’s official blog with a post titled “Marriage Equality in Washington State Would Be Good for Business,” in which he outlined the business case for the company’s support of same-sex marriage legislation in Washington, where Microsoft is based.

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Published Tuesday, January 24, 2012

On a typical day, Mindy Mora arrives at her law office about 8 a.m. and leaves 12 hours later. She will drive home, eat dinner and put in a few more hours of work, even taking client calls late at night. "Being a partner at a law firm is not a 9 to 5 job," she says. The grueling lifestyle, even with the cache of a partner title and a six-figure salary, is one Mora, a bankruptcy attorney at Bilzin Sumberg, knows young female law associates increasingly are shunning. "They want to be able to have a family and enjoy their family."

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Published Thursday, January 5, 2012

“For career advancement, there are unwritten rules women must follow,” says Jane Pigott, the first woman to secure the keys to Winston & Strawn’s executive and compensation committees. Now the managing director of R3Group in Chicago, which consults with professional service organizations, Pigott says, “A strategic approach to work assignments and seeking out mentors to help you have access to firm leadership are the keys to advancing.” According to Pigott, Jenner & Block partner E. Lynn Grayson of Chicago and presentations coach Deb Sofield of Greenville, S.C., there are seven specific areas women should address.

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Published Thursday, January 5, 2012

If you think the gender divide is shrinking among younger partners, you should check out The American Lawyer's first-ever survey (subscription required) of new partners. Frankly, I was astounded by how the two sexes differed on their views about client development, partnership grooming, money, and the future.

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Published Monday, December 5, 2011

Mentoring isn't enough. That becomes clear from looking at the results of our annual survey on differences among white, black, Asian, and Hispanic midlevel associates. Though African American associates are most likely to have a mentor, they're also more likely to get the least pay and bill the fewest hours. However, they're averaging a higher salary now than they were three years ago, and as a result the pay gap among the ethnic groups has narrowed.

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Published Monday, November 28, 2011

Improving diversity is the challenge that never goes away for law firms. Six years ago, Schiff Hardin decided that it needed to bring on a new minority partner, so it set out to woo Patricia Brown Holmes, a Cook County circuit court judge. Several Chicago firms were trying to recruit her. But it was a plea by Ronald Safer, Schiff's managing partner, that persuaded her to join the firm as a partner in its white-collar crime and corporate compliance and litigation groups.

"Safer's position was that he not only wanted to recruit diverse associates, he also wanted to raise them up to partner," says Holmes, who is African American. "Part of the retention issue stemmed from associates lacking role models and mentors at the very top of the partnership ranks. If associates can't look up and see themselves reflected, then they are going to question whether they will make it to the top."

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Published Monday, November 28, 2011

Columbia Law School professor Conrad Johnson's research offers a stark assessment of diversity in legal education. The overall percentage of minorities in law schools has slowly increased during the past 15 years to 22 percent. However, much of that gain can be attributed to rising numbers of Asian and most categories of Latino law students. Their growth has helped to obscure declines in the percentage of black and Mexican-American students. Those percentages have dropped even as the number of law school seats increased by 8,500 between 2000 and 2010.

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Published Friday, November 18, 2011

The bad news keeps coming about women at large law firms. On the heels of a survey from the National Association of Law Placement that found the percentage of women attorneys at U.S. firms dipped slightly this year, the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) has released a report corroborating a drop in the percentage of women attorneys entering the 200 largest firms.

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Published Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's the annoying issue that just won't go away: Why do women still lag behind men in law firms after all these years? You know the usual litany of reasons: work/life balance difficulties, lack of mentoring, etc. But have you considered this explanation? Women aren't getting the partnership prize because their firms are grading them harder.

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Published Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fortune magazine published the first Fortune 500 in 1955. Back then the list was restricted to the manufacturing, mining, and energy industries - the only companies regarded as important enough to merit such a list.

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Published Wednesday, November 2, 2011

There are many logical fallacies with Sander's overall argument, but his insistence on arguing against racial equity by arguing for class equity is an outmoded syllogism that undermines his stated commitment to greater diversity in law schools. His additional efforts to take a trailblazer like Barack Obama and apply his success to African Americans overall without explaining (or even considering) why Bill Clinton's success does not apply to all poor whites further demonstrate the fallacy of his model.

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Published Tuesday, October 25, 2011

For more than a century, baseball has been known as America's pastime. Change comes slowly to the game, and tradition is sacred. But as the recent film Moneyball details, one key part of the baseball edifice—the way that teams select and develop their players—has undergone a revolution, thanks to the data-driven approach famously employed by Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A's.

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Published Monday, October 17, 2011

Thirty years ago this month, Sandra Day O'Connor heard her first cases on the Supreme Court. Many thought her appointment would herald the shattering of the law’s glass ceiling, but at best it only cracked.

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Published Monday, October 17, 2011

According to a new study by UCLA law professor Richard Sander, discussed in an article in the Denver University Law Review, “the vast majority of American law students come from relatively elite backgrounds; this is especially true at the most prestigious law schools, where only five percent of all students come from families whose SES [socioeconomic status] is in the bottom half of the national distribution.”

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Published Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The business prerogative may well impact law firms' commitments to diversity, but it necessarily has limited reach. The small steps forward in recruiting attorneys have not been matched in the areas of retention or promotion. The Center for Legal Inclusiveness (CLI), a Colorado nonprofit focused on inclusion in the legal profession, observed in its 2010 report: "Many of our workplaces invest in the recruiting and hiring of diverse populations only to see increasing attrition rates within these groups." Many talented lawyers are simply walking away from big firm practice. . . . So the question remains: What will motivate law firms not only to diversify their workforces but also to retain and promote the attorneys they hire? CLI may have the answer.

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Published Monday, October 3, 2011

It's a controversial idea. But some women lawyers are suggesting that female attorneys do better, overall, when working in-house at least in part because corporations value the people skills they tend to bring to the table more than law firms do.

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Published Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Equity Continuum© was first introduced in the book Diversity at Work: The Business Case for Equity over a decade ago. Since that time this simple measurement tool has evolved into an industry-recognized methodology to allow organizations to rate their approach to diversity, inclusion and human equity using a single yardstick. For the past five years the continuum has been used to benchmark hundreds of organizations that apply to win Canada’s “Best Diversity Employers Award,” the largest competition of its kind in North America.

A few months ago, one of our most progressive clients indicated that they wanted to move to a “four” on the Equity Continuum. Actually they wanted to be the first “four” in North America because the highest score awarded in the competition so far is 3.79. My response to this request was, “Be careful of what you ask for.”

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Published Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Despite all the talk of boosting diversity in the legal profession, the percentage of minorities inched up from 9.7% in 2000 to 11.6% in 2009, according to a report by the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession

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Published Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Most companies today have what is known as employee resource or affinity groups. ERGs can be a tremendous asset for a company as long as they are seen as a group that connects directly to business goals and objectives and not a corporate sponsored support group. Historically, these groups were organized by gender, race or culture but as the make-up of the workforce changes, so does the need for other types of ERGs such as those for employees with a disability or who have a dependent with special needs.

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Published Friday, September 2, 2011

The vital foundation for innovation derives from a diverse workforce. Diversity of talent, by definition, provides more ideas and perspectives into driving for the best business solutions. Diversity becomes a valuable resource for innovation through a diverse workforce that reflects today’s marketplace through consumer insights and “wisdom of the crowd” that can lead to creative betterment.

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Published Thursday, September 1, 2011

Prosecutor Alondra Carrillo stood before a jury with a harrowing tale of social media gone wrong. It was a case of a jilted eighth-grade boy, devastated when his former best friend not only turned down his invitation to a dance, but also laughed at him. He was humiliated, and he told her she would pay for spurning him. And after the boy took his anger to Facebook, the prosecutor told jurors, the girl paid dearly. It was a serious and relevant case, even if the prosecutor could hardly see over the lectern in the courtroom and the charges were fake. All of the lawyers in U.S. District Judge S. James Otero's courtroom on this Monday afternoon were middle schoolers.

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Published Friday, August 26, 2011

Between 1990 and 2000, 2,600 Native Americans graduated from American Bar Association-accredited law schools, according to the ABA. According to the U.S. Census, however, the number of Native American attorneys in the United States increased by just 200 during that time.

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Published Monday, August 1, 2011

"When you get a good idea, you put it into action," says Kathleen Nalty, executive director of the Center for Legal Inclusiveness (CLI), a Denver-based organization that educates, recruits, and supports private and public-sector legal organizations in their own missions to create cultures of inclusion.

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Published Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has approved controversial plans to force law firms and barristers' chambers to publish internal diversity and social mobility statistics on their websites.

Firms and chambers will be required to publish data on their websites about the socio-economic background, age, race, and gender of their workforce, as well as information about disabilities.

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Published Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Working With organizations on diversity and inclusion strategies, I have learned that accountability can be critical in achieving success. At Andrews Kurth, we have found a way to manage accountability.

In 2006 I was intrigued by the opportunities in the legal industry for an attorney, human resources professional, and diversity practitioner like myself. The call to action for corporations through their general counsel was taking hold and law firms should have been eager to answer the call.

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Published Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It has been nearly 25 years since Dr. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr. created the American Institute for Managing Diversity. At the time, few corporations and first-time diversity practitioners could articulate with clarity what requirements would be needed to produce a successful diversity strategy. There were no road maps to guide these early diversity pioneers, nothing to go on but instinct, common sense, and guts.

We have learned much in the last two and half decades. Volumes have been written about how to lead a successful initiative, and the topic of diversity management has been dissected and analyzed from a wide range of viewpoints.

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Published Thursday, June 30, 2011

If you listen to any conversation on diversity and inclusion in the legal profession these days, you will inevitably hear a discussion on the business case for diversity and inclusion. Although our profession has talked about the business case for diversity and inclusion frequently, we have not talked about the topic clearly or cohesively. In fact, we have overused and misused the phrase “business case” so much that there is, in fact, a strong business case to be made for ceasing to use the term in the future.

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Published Monday, June 27, 2011

The Women in Law Empowerment Forum on June 14 released the initial list of law firms qualifying for its new Gold Standard Certification — a designation for firms that have integrated women in top leadership positions and compensated them well. The organization invited more than 300 firms with 100 or more attorneys to apply for the certification by June 1, and 32 met the criteria. The certification process went beyond simply looking at the percentage of women employed at law firms. It focused on whether they are significantly represented in positions of power and among the top-earning attorneys.

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Published Monday, June 20, 2011

Several times a year, a Denver-based organization called the Center for Legal Inclusiveness (CLI) sifts through the latest data reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  They then use those stats to compile a comparative list of American professions, ranked according to their diversity.

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Published Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Big firms have pros & cons. They offer loads of prestige and national, if not global ties. And certainly the money is there. Still, for some lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) associates, larger firms can be less than ideal. In a lot of cases, these associates view a smaller, more personal firm, ideally with a few LGBT partners, as a far better site from which to launch and build their careers.

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Published Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What does the Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, which is dedicated to increasing the number of women in leadership positions in the legal profession, have in common with The National Law Journal's annual "Appellate Hot List"? For those attending the Center's 2011 Women's Power Summit on Law and Leadership, the correlation is depressingly relevant.

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Published Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Increasing diversity has become a well-established central goal of the legal profession, but there's no question that much work remains. Bolstered by an industry wide commitment to increasing the number of minorities and women in the legal field, diversity in law firms has increased in tiny but measurable increments, according to the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), which tracks law firm demographics.

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Published Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Have we been complacent about the supply line of women in the legal profession? Didn't we all assume that women make up around 50 percent of the students in the nation's law schools--particularly in the top schools?

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Published Friday, May 13, 2011

About a quarter of lawyer moms leave the workplace, compared to about 6 percent of women with medical degrees.

University of Chicago economist Jane Leber Herr noted the differences when analyzing a national survey of college graduates and a sample of Harvard alumnae, the Washington Post reports.

Herr found that fewer than 4 percent of women without children left the workplace 15 years after graduating, but the figures were far higher for mothers. more»
Published Friday, May 13, 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others? Do not say you will do it ‘someday,’ now is the time. Do not say ‘someone’ will do it, you are the one…”

These words echo a familiar theme for diversity professionals, because we enter this work with a commitment to doing everything we can to achieve equity for all people.

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Published Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Once upon a time, diversity was regarded as a matter of employment equity or affirmative action…an idea now as outmoded as cassette tapes. In today’s world, a diverse workforce is widely regarded as a key business imperative and should be incorporated into every organization’s strategy. A diverse workforce can deliver better decision-making, better products and services, happier customers, increased productivity and a better bottom line. According to FORTUNE magazine, companies that enjoy a diverse and inclusive culture outperformed the S&P 500.

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Published Thursday, May 5, 2011
Question:
All of this is well and good, but what is the effect on the bottom line? Are the companies that engage in these practices more profitable? Have they seen an increase in profits since adopting these practices?

Answer:
There is a dramatic bottom-line benefit to diversity management and implementing work/life practices. One simple area to think about is retention. Given that the workforce is now at gender parity, including college-educated workers, then making sure the gender that must bear the children in our society finds it beneficial to continue focusing their talent in the workplace doubles a company's chance to get the best talent into the right positions. My wife said that this would have been obvious a long time ago if men bore half the children. Indeed, work/life efforts have risen as the number of dual-income families have risen because the stress of working and raising a family can be mitigated by good management, to the increased productivity of both men and women, the recruitment of the best and brightest and the retention of your most talented people.

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Published Thursday, May 5, 2011
When Jose Ancer starts work at a law firm this fall, he’ll join a U.S. industry that, like so many others, sees people of color disproportionately affected during an economic downturn. Ancer’s path draws praise among diversity watchdogs because of the historically meager ranks of Mexican-Americans in the legal workforce. more»
Published Monday, April 18, 2011
Corporate Counsel Women of Color, a nonprofit organization that fosters diversity in Fortune 1000 law departments, has announced a report on how women of color are faring in those companies. And despite the obstacles faced by respondents, CCWC founder and CEO Laurie Robinson says the results were surprisingly refreshing.

"This group had a very strong sense of self, and they very much felt that they had the power to control their destiny," says Robinson.

CCWC announced the completion of its 80-page report-"The Perspectives of Women of Color Attorneys in Corporate Legal Departments"-at a panel discussion held at the New York Hilton last week.

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Published Monday, April 18, 2011

The Project for Attorney Retention, part of the Center for Work Life Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, has spent the past 10 years examining how lawyers and law firms can foster successful part-time working arrangements and prevent the stalled careers that many lawyers — particularly women — experience when they cut back on work hours.

That decade of research has yielded a book titled Flex Success: The Lawyer's Guide to Balanced Hours, written by PAR co-founders Joan Williams and Cynthia Thomas Calvert. The book zeros in on how attorneys can position themselves for success while working reduced hours, and highlights the obstacles that confront reduced-hours attorneys in the law firm environment.

The National Law Journal spoke with Williams about the book, which is a follow-up to PAR's 2004 publication, Solving the Part-Time Puzzle: The Law Firm's Guide to Balanced Hours. Her answers have been edited for length.

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Published Sunday, April 10, 2011
Women in the U.S. are gaining ground educationally and economically, but men still make more money on average, according to a March 2011 White House report Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being. more»
Published Thursday, January 13, 2011

Numerical rankings could be coming to the law schools that U.S. News & World Report categorizes as third tier Ñ meaning those 42 schools would be subject to the same up-and-down fluctuations watched so closely among the top 100.

U.S. News research director Robert Morse told legal educators during the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting in San Francisco last week that he is considering extending the numerical rankings in the new edition, which is due on March 15. The change would bring the law school rankings in line with recent modifications to the publication's Best Colleges rankings.

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Published Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The nation's biggest law firms had been making impressive strides in hiring women, people of color and those with disabilities — until the recession dried up legal spending and wiped out more than 5,800 lawyers' jobs.

After two years of layoffs and hiring deferrals, the proportions of women and minorities at major law firms dropped in 2010 for the first time since industry analysts began collecting demographic hiring data in the 1990s.

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Published Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Joan Williams, the director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of Law, has long worked in the work/life balance trenches. She's written a new book, Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter. more»
Published Tuesday, November 2, 2010
After 16 years of observing scores of litigation teams from his seat on the Southern District bench, Judge Harold Baer Jr. has strong views about what is lacking in many law firms: diversity. more»
Published Tuesday, November 2, 2010

As the legal and political battles continue over the presumed end of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, we bring you the latest developments on another front.

We first began soliciting GLBT data as part of our Law Firm Diversity Survey six years ago. Over that time, we have seen increasing transparency as law firms make greater effort to address issues of gender identity and sexual orientation. more»
Published Wednesday, October 20, 2010

View videos from CLI's 2010 Summer CLE Series including "Glass Ceilings and Dead Ends" by Law Professor Eli Wald, University of Denver 
Sturm College of Law, and "The Role of Unconscious Bias in Your Legal Practice" with Professor Helen Norton, University of Colorado Law School. 

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Published Wednesday, September 15, 2010
NEWARK, N.J. — The Rev. Jesse Jackson, the civil rights leader who twice ran for president, mocks the notion that the mere fact that a Black person is sitting in the White House means the nation has entered a “post-racial” era. more»
Published Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Bar Association has launched its first-ever directory of LGBT partners and LGBT-owned firms.

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Published Thursday, September 9, 2010
Law firms would rather not discuss it, but women lawyers keep bringing it up. Forget all the lovely women's initiatives, these women say, because firms aren't talking about what really counts: how many of their female partners actually have equity. more»
Published Thursday, September 9, 2010

For years clients have pressured outside counsel to improve diversity at their law firms. Now some firms are initiating the diversity discussion themselves.

Dewey & LeBoeuf, for example, in recent weeks has been sending letters to general counsel encouraging them to consider outside counsel that can offer teams of diverse partners to work on client matters. The goal is to help junior and mid-level women, minority and gay partners develop a client base.

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Published Friday, July 16, 2010
Colorado Campaign for Inclusive Excellence 1700 Lincoln Street, Suite 3200 Denver, CO 80203 (303) 832-3502 www.colegaldiversity.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 15, 2010 PRESS RELEASE - COLORADO CAMPAIGN FOR INCLUSIVE EXCELLENCE CCIE Announces Date for 2011 Legal Inclusiveness Summit™ DENVER – The Colorado Campaign for Inclusive more»
Published Thursday, July 15, 2010
Mark your calendars now for CCIE’s 2011 Legal Inclusiveness Summit™ – March 14-15th in Denver, Colorado. CCIE will soon launch the Center for Legal Inclusiveness™ in Denver – the one stop resource for inclusiveness in the legal profession.
Published Sunday, June 6, 2010

There's a new legal diversity initiative on the block. It's called the Inclusion Initiative, and the 11 large corporations that have signed on have committed to spending a portion of their legal budgets with women- and minority-owned law firms. So far the total is $30 million, which they expect will rise as more companies join. Susan Blount, general counsel of Prudential Financial, Inc., hopes that it will help other businesses realize that "some of the best lawyers in the profession are at these firms."

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Published Sunday, June 6, 2010

Throughout the legal profession, the statistics from recent studies are grim:  Only 16 percent of law firm equity partners are women.  Only 15 percent of general counsels of Fortune 500 companies are women.  And only 19 percent of law school deans are women.

In response to the gross underrepresentation of women, the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession recently presented the Women in Law Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, connecting women lawyers and judges from around the country with some of the most influential female role models in the legal profession.

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Published Saturday, May 29, 2010

recent study by sociologists Wendy Espeland of Northwestern University and Michael Sauder of the University of Iowa concluded that the rankings published by US News make it harder for law schools to achieve diversity on campus. An ABA report on diversity released in April recommended that law schools "de-emphasize national U.S. News and World Report rankings because of the adverse impact upon applicants of color." In February, the ABA's House of Delegates voted to examine the magazine's methods.

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Published Friday, May 21, 2010

American businesses constantly grapple with issues of work force diversity and inclusion — and those words usually are shorthand for being more aggressive in the hiring and advancement of women and people of color.  But that idea of workplace inclusiveness is becoming more inclusive, too.

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Published Monday, May 17, 2010

Of the many concerns facing the new associate, or even the experienced partner, one of the most complex and mystifying is that of work-life balance. It is an issue about which many firms appear to be concerned. They present workshops and make printed material available; mentors nod their heads in that direction; and human resources departments employ professional development specialists to work on the issue. Ultimately, however, it appears that the legal world leaves each attorney to his own devices to crack the code of work-life balance.Of the many concerns facing the new associate, or even the experienced partner, one of the most complex and mystifying is that of work-life balance. It is an issue about which many firms appear to be concerned. They present workshops and make printed material available; mentors nod their heads in that direction; and human resources departments employ professional development specialists to work on the issue. Ultimately, however, it appears that the legal world leaves each attorney to his own devices to crack the code of work-life balance.

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Published Thursday, April 29, 2010

A gathering of women in-house counsel on the eve of the American Bar Association's Women in Law Leadership (WILL) Academy was set up to foster discussions on how female in-house counsel can, and need to, help promote women in law firms and the profession as a whole. But survey results presented at Wednesday's talk at times showed how little influence in-house counsel currently have on the way women lawyers are paid and advanced in law firms.

The first-ever regional summit for in-house counsel presented by the ABA's Commission on Women in the Profession was held in Philadelphia in advance of the two-day leadership academy being held today and Friday. At the summit, Minority Corporate Counsel Association Executive Director Veta T. Richardson presented the results of a joint study by the MCCA, the ABA's commission and the Project for Attorney Retention at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. The study, "Survey of Women Partners on Law Firm Compensation," asked nearly 700 female partners in regional and international firms alike how they are compensated and promoted in their firms.

 

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Published Thursday, April 22, 2010

One need only visit the Web site of any Fortune 500 company to learn that diversity and inclusion programs are good for business. In a growing global market, these policies reflect the objective corporate reality that customers and clients come from a wide variety of cultural, racial and gender backgrounds. Most businesses have diversity or inclusion programs, which embrace individual experiences, talents and cultures in the work environment seeking to achieve better customer or client performance. Diversity and inclusion exemplify core American jurisprudence values. Programs fostering these values seek to ensure "liberty and justice for all."

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Published Friday, April 16, 2010

More and more law firms seem to be embracing diversity initiatives, but are today's law firms committed to diversity? Should they be? What is driving these changes? Why should firms diversify? Have firms made diversity a core value of the firm? What resources are being expended not only to recruit, but also to retain diverse lawyers?

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Published Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Many law firms understand the importance of building a diverse workforce. The changing demographics within the United States have signaled to firms that diversity is an important goal that will affect the firm's viability and ultimately the bottom line. In response, many firms have launched diversity recruitment efforts designed to bring more women and attorneys of color into the firm. The problem has been that within a few years of being hired attorneys that qualify as 'diverse' leave the firm in search of more inclusive, diverse and culturally competent work environments.  Learn more about the critical reasons why attempts at creating diversity have failed.

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Published Monday, April 5, 2010

This Report devotes its pages to specific recommendations for increasing diversity in the different sectors of the profession, namely law firms and corporations, the judiciary and government, law schools and the academy, and bar associations. The Report's recommendations reflect and incorporate the multiple experiences, false starts, insights, frustrations and new beginnings that represent the many different ways that diversity works within the different sectors of the legal profession.

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Published Wednesday, March 3, 2010

For the first time in years, the population of minority lawyers at big law firms is shrinking. That's the key finding to emerge from the latest version of our annual Diversity Scorecard, which counts attorneys of color in the U.S. offices of approximately 200 big firms.

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