The Diverse and Inclusive Law Firm
The legal profession is one of the least diverse and inclusive professions. This should be a concern for law firms, corporate legal departments and Government agencies for three reasons:
- They are not getting and retaining the best talent pool to service their clients,
- They are not structured to mirror the marketplace they serve and
- Their employees who are diverse are spending an inordinate amount of time just trying to fit in.
This all results in lost productivity, performance and revenues.
Hiring the Best
Of course you want to hire the best talent, but you are missing out if your pool of candidates excludes those that are diverse. Recruiting top talent is an issue and younger lawyers (millennials) tend to be more socially conscious–so law firms, corporations and Government agencies will need to compete for them. Diversity and inclusion is a key way you can do that.
Reflecting the Marketplace
Clients also are looking for lawyers that reflect diversity. Diversity is a key component of the marketing plan for any company whether its legal services being seen as valuable by a client or a soft drink being marketed to the general population.
A successful marketing or development plan reflects the marketplace. Develop a strategy to reflect your marketplace.
Keeping People Productive
People who are different spend a lot of time trying to fit in. This is a waste of time. A good inclusion program will help diverse people feel included without all the work. It will be more natural.
Unconscious Bias Prevents Diversity & Inclusion
Unconscious Bias prevents law firms, corporations and Government agencies from hiring the best talent and retaining that talent. Read more on how unconscious bias impacts your organization. Bias against those that are not in the majority group, white male, generally is not intentional.
We are all biased no matter our race, gender, sexual orientation or other differentiators. It’s how our brains work. We need to recognize activities where unconscious bias comes into play.
I can help you develop a workshop tailored to your organization that will help your attorneys and staff recognize the existence and minimize the effects of unconscious bias. This requires acknowledging that it exists and then developing procedures to help minimize its effect. The result is not only a more diverse and inclusive workforce, but one that is more productive and innovative.
Let’s get started today.
My Unique Approach
A workshop is a great vehicle to discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion and the role of unconscious bias. I have several exercises that are fun and interesting and make this learning process a great group event. I don’t use your typical diversity and inclusion material and point my finger at your lawyers arguing for more diversity. That is not effective.
Instead, I use my educational background in psychology and counseling to discuss how our brains work and how our survival mechanisms cause us to categorize people based on stereotypes. I also have exercises that show how our brains are programmed to create unconscious biases to make decisions easier and faster.
We all have unconscious biases. Some are good and help us navigate in the real world. Others play tricks on us and put up roadblocks to true diversity and inclusion. Let me show this to your team.
My experience managing lawyers as a capital partner of a law firm and as a general counsel has given me first-hand knowledge of the training techniques that will be most receptive to your lawyers and staff. I know how lawyers work and think.
What We Will Accomplish
My workshops are structured to accomplish the following:
- Establish the importance of diversity and inclusion.
- Define what diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias is all about.
- Show the research that supports the conclusion that diverse work teams are more innovative, productive and happier working together.
- Do a few short exercises that show in real life situations how our brains are pre-programmed to categorize people.
- Explain how a lack of diversity and inclusion is not intentional.
- Show how to recognize unconscious bias and decisions based on stereotypes and how to avoid being caught off guard by our unconscious brains.
- Discuss real life work situations where these issues come up and how to effectively deal with them.
- Develop hands-on strategies for managing diverse project teams for optimal productivity and effectiveness.