After two years of virtual conferences, the 2022 CLOC Global Institute Annual Conference showcased the liveliness and energy of its members and the legal ops profession. With over 2,000 attendees, the three-day event sparked conversation, education, and participation.
Among the many themes highlighted at this year’s event was a focus on DE&I. One of the most engaging and thought-provoking sessions—Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Moving Past the Rhetoric—generated innovative ideas and programs to advance this initiative from just talk to real results. Kris Satkunas, Director of Strategic Consulting at LexisNexis® CounselLink®, moderated a panel of DE&I expert corporate law department and law firm professionals, including Jenita Gillespie of Bon Secours Mercy Health (Legal Ops Director), Glicelda Bradford of Humana (Legal Ops Process Manager), Christy Jo Gedney of Liberty Mutual Insurance (AVP), and Darin Snyder of O’Melveny Law Firm (Partner, Head of DE&I).
This interactive session drew over 30 questions from the audience as the speakers shared their programs, processes, and learnings, such as the following tips:
- Make a firm’s DE&I metrics part of the conversation. Use data, but not in a vacuum. Data should help to inform a meaningful dialogue.
- Nurture younger lawyers. If there aren’t many partners from under-represented backgrounds with specific experience, help to develop them.
- Give associates and newly hired lawyers from under-represented groups MEANINGFUL work to build their expertise
- Invite associates to strategic meetings to give them broader exposure
- Explore mentorship and internship programs
- Measure, measure, measure. Don’t look at just law firm end-of-year demographics, consider hiring patterns, retention, type of work performed, percentage billed by diversity category, title, and advancement.
- Understand the diversity represented by the hours worked for your matters. (CounselLink supports this by making it easy for outside counsel to input diversity data into their profile, so it only must be done once.)
- Monitor trends and communicate with your firms
- Push back on recruiters who say they can’t find under-represented hires with the right experience (identify individuals with the skill set and capabilities, not necessarily the experience)
- Award and recognize law departments who show true innovation and results
An interesting request from law firms: Asking legal departments to use one Standard Diversity survey, such as the ABA Diversity Survey. Law firms want to share their diversity information but supporting the unique requests from hundreds of clients can be overwhelming and takes away from time spent recruiting and retaining a diverse staff. CounselLink makes it easy on clients and their law firms by embedding the ABA Diversity Survey and Diversity dashboards into the application. For more information on how CounselLink can support your diversity initiatives, go to https://ln-counsellink.lexisnexis.com/CounselLink-DEI.