are we diverse and inclusive or are we just trying to fool somebody?
Most law firms state their commitment to diversity and inclusivity, prominently featuring on their diversity pages the pathetically few women and minorities in positions of genuine economic power in the firm. Are they walking the talk? Let me count the ways.
O'Melveny & Myers ~ We attract, retain, and promote people of all backgrounds, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, or any other group characteristics.
201 male partners and 21 women ~ 10%. In the legal realm, you win awards for this.
O’Melveny & Myers LLP has been named to The American Lawyer’s 2010 A-List, which recognizes the nation’s most elite law firms for stellar performance in the areas of revenue generation, pro bono commitment, associate satisfaction, and diversity representation. This is the Firm’s third consecutive year on the list of 20 firms judged best at balancing the practice of law with their obligations to the profession.
I don't mean to pick on O'Melveny. It's representative of the whole. Any AmLaw100 law firm that would like to crow about its great track record in retaining and promoting women and minorities, please do drop by with your results and suggestions to your peers for improvements in these figures that the smartest guys in the room don't seem capable of figuring out.
Today, Forbes Corporate Social Responsibility Blog is commencing a series on how one company's serious commitment to diversity has resulted in improved bottom line performance. I commend that series to the attention of the real powers that be inside AmLaw 100 law firms and they cannot be found in the Diversity Programs, of that I can assure you. Here's the intro to the McDonald's diversity program series:
How does a company that serves 56 million customers a day across 118 countries become a leader in diversity hiring and retention? According to the inclusion and diversity team at McDonald’s, it takes a combination of knowing how to leverage a multicultural customer base, a C-suite-led commitment to talent management, and academic-style learning labs.
And if you're a woman, like me, we have our own garden to tend. We leave the Fortune 50 and the AmLaw100 out of discouragement. But part of that discouragement is born of our own diminished expectations and failures to build serious rain-making activities into our daily practices along with our failures to demand assignments to the types of cases where partners are made.
If your law firm or corporation does not have a serious diversity program, click your ruby slippers three times, say "there's no place like the board room," take the She Negotiates signature course, and kick a little butt.
Remember, as Gloria Steinem said, "the truth shall set you free, but first, it will piss you off."