General counsel want diversity from their law firms – and they’ll prioritize business based on that.
More than 170 general counsel and corporate legal executives from companies such as Google Fiber, Lyft and Heineken USA signed an open letter stating this in 2019. An excerpt reads:
“We expect the outside law firms we retain to reflect the diversity of the legal community and the companies and the customers we serve.”
The statement validated the work of law firms focused on providing actionable results in support of diversity. It also served as a warning to those law firms slow to respond.
In December of 2019, the Vault/Minority Corporate Counsel Association Law Firm Diversity Survey results found that:
“Law firm populations are slowly becoming more diverse, although demographic changes have been slow to trickle upward, and firms continue to struggle with retention of diverse attorneys, particularly people of color. More women serve as partners and law firm leaders than in the past, although they have yet to achieve gender parity, and women of color enjoy fewer of these successes than their white colleagues.”
Diversity is a top priority for corporate legal, both for their departments and their outside counsel. The commitment started well before 2019 and will continue going forward as the legal community collaborates to build more diverse law firms and corporate legal departments.
Women, Influence & Power in Law
The annual summit Women, Influence & Power in Law (WIPL) has continually propelled awareness, interest and action to support diversity. For more than a decade, the conference has united prominent women in law to drive meaningful conversations and actionable solutions surrounding diversity, equality, and inclusion within the legal community. This year’s virtual gathering, scheduled for October 26-30, will be no exception, with keynotes from luminaries Tina Chen, President and CEO of the “Time’s Up” Legal Defense Fund and former chief of staff to Michelle Obama and Paula Boggs, founder of Boggs Media, LLC and executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, law and corporate affairs at Starbucks Corporation from 2002 to 2012.
Onit is proud to sponsor and participate in this year’s event.
Stasha Jain, vice president of legal and compliance for Onit, will host a roundtable session titled “Beyond Artificial Intelligence: The Future Of In House Legal Teams” on October 27 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. EST. Stasha has practiced law for more than 15 years, with in-house counsel experience at Onit, ZS Associates, Inc. and Hewitt Associates. The session will take a candid look at how in-house teams will transform in the near future and how technology can influence that change.
WIPL is free for in-house counsel and open to legal professionals who support diversity in the legal community. Visit here to register.
While you’re at the event, be sure to “stop by” to say hello to Onit via the Exhibitor Directory. If you join us for a demo, we’ll buy you lunch – or rather, a DoorDash gift card that you can use to treat yourself at your favorite restaurant. Even better: In addition to the gift card, those that watch a demo will have a chance to win a unique virtual foodie experience. We’re waiting until the conference to share more details. But trust us – this is worth it!
Continue the Diversity Discussion
Onit’s Lean Into LegalOps program hosts roundtable discussions every other week for legal operations professionals. One recurring topic will be diversity. If you’d like to join these roundtable calls and continue the diversity discussion, sign up for Lean Into LegalOps and you’ll get notifications of new events.