Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Reaches 10,000 Diverse Attorneys in First Ten Years

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Celebrating Ten Years and 10,000 Careers


The Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, an organization made up of 337 corporate general counsel and the managing partners of the nation’s leading law firms, marked its ten-year anniversary by announcing that its programs have helped advance the career paths of more than 10,000 diverse attorneys and law students.

“10 years. 10,000 careers,” said LCLD President Robert J. Grey, Jr.

“We are, of course, tremendously proud of hitting—and surpassing—that number,” said Grey, “but there’s another number that’s absolutely critical to the success we’ve seen, and that’s the number ‘one.'"

“We are advancing careers, one by one…and we’re able to do that only because of the personal and individual commitment of each one of the general counsel and managing partners who make up LCLD.”

LCLD’s initiatives include a national mentoring program for diverse law students, a 1L Scholars program providing summer experience at law firms and in corporate legal departments for first-year law students, a Pathfinder Program for law firm associates and rising attorneys within corporate legal departments, a Fellows Program for law firm partners and in-house attorneys with eight to 15 years of experience, and an Alumni Program which provides support throughout a Fellow’s and a Pathfinder’s career.

LCLD announced that it hit its target of reaching 10,000 diverse attorneys and law students at its tenth annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Sept. 23-24.

“There is no silver bullet or magic formula for success with diversity and inclusion,” said Grey. “Progress has to be more than incremental and made up of many different ideas, both big and small, but it can be scalable. Our job is to find the best ideas and give them a platform, on our website, through social media, and at national and regional meetings.”

Success is also contagious, he said. As example, he cited a multi-year LCLD “Sustainable Partnerships” program in the Washington, D.C. area which gave diverse law firm attorneys multiple exposures to general counsel. The program, which encourages the building of diverse teams, making client pitches, and cultivating potential clients, has now spread to the San Francisco area.

“This is a textbook example of how a good idea can take root and spread,” said Grey.

“I think we’ll see continuing progress with diversity numbers,” he said. “But what is really happening is below the radar." There is, he said, a national network of 1,600 LCLD Fellows who support one another, challenge each other, share candid advice, and refer business to one another. And that national network is growing exponentially, year by year, said Grey.

“This sets the stage for the next ten years,” said Grey, “as LCLD Members work to identify the critical points in the operations and processes of law firms and corporate legal departments. This next decade will see strategies to remove barriers, improve organizations’ processes, and build on what’s working."

“The Members have seen the pace-setting work done by the Board over these first 10 years and have maintained an annual membership renewal rate of more than 95%, a reflection," said Grey, “of the membership’s commitment to stay in this thing for the long haul.”

“And I am encouraged by the fact that diversity is exemplified by the Board’s first four chairs: An African American male, a Caucasian female, a Hispanic male, and a Caucasian male.”

“This generation of leaders in the law has taken on the responsibility for innovation and persistence and challenging their organizations to create, as former LCLD Chair Brad Smith once put it: “a profession as diverse as the nation we serve.’”

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Don Belt

Jessica Sabesan
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