- Understanding and supporting a client’s DEI goals is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort, learning, and adaptation.
As a growing trend in recent years, law firms tend to receive annual requests from their company clients for data showing progress regarding the firm’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. While these surveys can sometimes seem tedious and time-consuming for law firms to complete each year, they are important tools for firms to understand the progress they have made in the past year (and beyond) and how their clients define success in their own DEI goals. This month’s newsletter will discuss how lawyers can fully understand their clients’ DEI goals.
The best way for you to understand a company client’s DEI goals is to have an open and honest conversation with your client about how the company defines success as it relates to DEI efforts. Ask the client about their specific DEI goals and initiatives, and actively seek to understand the context and reasoning behind them.
Be proactive in identifying areas where you can provide additional support and guidance to your client. You can assist with drafting and reviewing DEI-related policies, help navigate any legal compliance issues, and provide guidance on the legal risks and opportunities related to DEI. Be aware of any relevant laws, regulations, and best practices in DEI and communicate them to your clients. For example, to the extent there are data privacy laws applicable to your client-related collection of personal data, let your client know that you can help them navigate the intersection between the regulations and desire to accomplish their DEI goals.
Having a diverse team is another approach for law firms to communicate to their client that they understand their client’s DEI goals. A diverse team of lawyers from different backgrounds and experiences can provide a wider perspective and understanding of DEI issues. The diversity within the team can also provide a safe space for clients to share their DEI goals and initiatives with the lawyers without any biases and prejudices. Also, by having a diverse team, lawyers can provide culturally competent legal advice and representation to their clients. This way, the team can also serve as role models and ambassadors for the client’s DEI initiatives.
Finally, it’s important to mention that understanding and supporting a client’s DEI goals is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort, learning, and adaptation. You can be proactive by engaging in the above steps with your client and regular check-ins on progress. This will show that you care about the progress your client is making with respect to their DEI goals and can help you stay informed about your client’s DEI initiatives, fully understanding their progress toward their goals.