From Passive Vanity Metrics to Active Engagement: Pivoting Mindset To Move the DEI Needle in Legal Professions

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is at the forefront of strategy for a significant number of law firms and corporate departments. Yet, those with an inside understanding of the industry know that meaningful progress is not being made.

While there are varied approaches to implementing initiatives and measuring their outcomes, most efforts are not moving the needle. The common denominator of failure or stagnancy is a passive mindset. The way forward lies in shifting the perception of DEI from an amorphous theoretical pursuit tacked onto business strategy to a core value integrated into everyday business operations.

DEI is Here to Stay

DEI was still a relatively unknown concept just 10 years ago. Today, nearly every law firm and corporate law department is addressing it in some way. Ignoring it altogether is playing with fire. The 2020 Law360 Diversity Snapshot indicates that more than half of firms have gone so far as to appoint a diversity leader. For the most part, companies and law firms are happy to talk about DEI programs, and many can point with pride to diversity-related initiatives within their organizations. However, the actual efficacy of these programs and initiatives is dubious at best.

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