UNMET GOALS – Despite all the diversity initiatives and talk about the importance of hiring and promoting diverse lawyers, it turns out that corporate legal departments still aren’t sending much business to diverse outside counsel. That’s according to a forthcoming report from the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, reports Phillip Bantz. IILP collected outside counsel spend data in an online survey of 136 in-house lawyers. The results showed that “most participants” gave less than 10% of their business to diverse lawyers during the past full fiscal year. “What we’re seeing is that the amount of corporate business that is being directed to these lawyers and law firms is not large enough to really improve our DEI outcomes,” said IILP CEO Sandra Yamate.
EMPATHY PEAK – Law firms became more empathetic to the plights of their employees over the past two and a half years. That meant being attuned to the needs of parents who had child care issues and being open to flexible working schedules, remote work and mental health days, reports Patrick Smith. Vacations were encouraged and paid for in some instances. Significant investments in DEI and affinity groups were made. But is this level of empathy sustainable in Big Law? And even if it is, will law firms want to continue to make those efforts? Many in the legal industry believe so, but it might also depend on “who” the firm was before 2020.