Diversity in the Legal Profession
Hinton Lucas, Assistant General Counsel for DuPont speak on the “Call to Action” in many corporations and law firms in the United States.
We talked about the Call to Action in the United States starting out and around the year 2004, even prior to that time many corporations and law firms were doing an awful lot of work in this particular area in this arena. But as a Call to Action has demonstrated there is so much more that needs to be done. In our company, we are committed to diversity and to inclusion. If you will take a look at in the United States, the question was asked, we talked about affirmative action, we have evolved from affirmative action to the word diversity to now most people use the terms more and more of inclusion.
It was mentioned earlier, that we are talking more about just minorities, we are talking about all kinds of different inclusion by having a breath of input, and breath of knowledge of all people you do get a better product. Now we know that any advances in this particular area that all of us have been working on for years and years, are incremental at best. We talked about the standpoint of the business case and we have all mentioned that it is very difficult to measure. And I will tell you being a member of a science company, DuPont we have just celebrated our 206th year in existence and that’s a long time I know, we have attempted to take advantage of the diversity on a world wide basis.
The DuPont company as I have mentioned, as we have celebrations our 206th anniversary, and over the last two decades, of the 20th century, enormous demographic change have swept the United States. With minorities becoming the fastest growing segment of the population, and somewhat acan to that currently women make up over 50%, plus of all the law school graduates in the United States, so we start to talk about what happens to all these law school graduates but the demographics folks are changing. DuPont embraced the changes over the last couple of decades of the 20th Century, to focus on diversity and people as a core value for our company.
From DuPont’s prospective, to continue to be globally competitive our company must have and employee base that is as diverse as the customer that buys our products, the shareholder who buys our stock and the vendor that supplies us with goods and services and by all means the communities in which we operate. The business case that we have mentioned in fact have normally comes at you this way, an attorney asks you the question and said “I know that it may be the right thing to do, but please tell me Lucas why is so important to your company and why should it be important to my firm.”
Now instead of me just basically saying “Are you kidding, I don’t believe that you asked that question,” we take it positive look at this and say ”alright, let’s talk about this”. And as I have mentioned, the member of the law department of a science company, I know that there are very few empirical
studies that basically make the business case.
To hear more about diversity and inclusion in corporations and law firms, make sure to watch the video above.Continue reading
Corporate Counsels to take Action on Law Firm Diversity at Toronto Summit November 19
Law departments urged to terminate relationships with firms that show no interest, or lack of compliance – in support of their commitment to legal diversity
(Toronto, ON) November 18, 2009: Managing partners of several Toronto-based law firms, and senior legal officers of several major global corporations, will congregate on November 19th, in support of A Call to Action Canada’s initiative, Promoting Diversity in the Legal Profession. Beginning at 8:30 AM, the summit will be taking place at the The University Club of Toronto, 380 University Avenue.
This event is being held “in an effort to promote diversity in law firms, and encourage legal practitioners to raise the bar and change the way business is conducted,” says Joy Casey, a Lawyer and founder of A Call to Action Canada. “We intend to actively seek out opportunities to direct work to firms which are controlled by, or have a substantial number of partners who are women or minorities.”
The mission of A Call to Action Canada is straightforward – to provide a forum designed to support in-house counsel in taking leadership roles to advance diversity and inclusiveness.
The commitment of this group is exemplary, as their message is demonstrated by their mandate; to terminate relationships with outside law firms which show a lack of interest or commitment to being diverse and inclusive.
Delegates participating in this event include representatives from corporations such as Accenture, Dell, DuPont, and RBC, in addition to representation from prominent law firms, which include Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Fraser Milner and Heenan Blaike LLP, and others. Other participating organizations include The Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council, CAMSC; an organization that facilitates procurement opportunities between major corporations and aboriginal and minority suppliers.
CAMSC is associated with the National Minority Supplier Development Council.Continue reading