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March 06, 2017 Practice Points

General Counsel Speak on Diversity and Inclusion in New Report

By Mor Wetzler

A new report published by GC Magazine examines how in-house counsel in the U.S. are taking innovative action to advance diversity and inclusion within their own organizations and across the profession. The report features in-depth interviews with the general counsel of more than a dozen companies, including Accenture, BP, GE, MasterCard, Morgan Stanley, PepsiCo, Salesforce, and Walmart. They discuss ways to promote diversity in their own companies, as well as ways that in-house counsel are using their purchasing power to spur progress among their outside legal providers.  According to the general counsel, their efforts focus primarily on three areas: increasing the pipeline of diverse talent, supporting the advancement of more diverse candidates into leadership roles, and using “the power of the client” to push their law firms and other suppliers to share their commitment to diversity and inclusion. The report also includes a quantitative investigation looking at diversity and inclusion from multiple angles. For example, the research found that for those actively assessing a law firm’s diversity when considering who they engaged, 89.9% required that diverse lawyers were actively working on their matters. The survey also ranked strategies that respondents felt have been most impactful in promoting diversity and inclusion. The strategies with highest impact were 1.) leadership championing, 2.) raising awareness, 3.) targeted talent management, and 4.) role models.

Mor Wetzler is an associate at Paul Hastings in New York, New York.

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