profession must increase its diversity
initiatives to better serve the client, and
stay competitive in the domestic and
global market. The problem is less so
at the production level of law school
graduates and more geared toward
the leadership composition. Indeed,
as of 2017, there are now roughly 50
percent of women in law schools, and
the number of female general counsel
represents roughly half of the expected
percentage. However, turning to racial
diversity, while minorities constitute
about 27 percent of students in law
school, they make up just 10 percent of
the general counsel in the Fortune 500
companies. That number is 37 percent
of the expected percentage. Worse
yet, this number has been stagnant for
the past few years. Considering current minority groups will eventually
become the majority at 56 percent by
2060, 10 the slow speed of change poses
a significant problem as the demographics of the corporate leadership
grow more disparate from the composition of the corporations’ clientele.
Unless corporations begin replicat-
ing their successes in gender diver-
sity initiatives in the scope of racial
diversity, the problem will only become
worse going forward. The solution
will involve a reexamination of cur-
rent diversity initiatives to assess their
limitations, and begin applying a more
holistic strategy to retain and promote
diverse talent to leadership levels. ACC
1 Eli Wald, “A Primer on Diversity,
Discrimination, and Equality in the
Legal Profession or Who is Responsible
for Pursuing Diversity and Why,” 24
Geo. J. Legal Ethics 1079 (2011).
2 See, e.g., Vivian Hunt et al., Diversity
Matters , MCKINSEY & COMPANY 9 (2014).
3 Jennifer Williams-Alvarez, HP,
“Mandating Diversity, Will Withhold
Fees From Some Firms,” Corporate
Counsel (Feb. 13, 2017), www.
4 Sue Reisinger, “GCs Making the Case
for More Diversity,” Corporate Counsel
(July 30, 2015), www.corpcounsel.
5 Ben Maiden, “Companies Hiring More
Female General Counsel, Report
Says,” Corporate Secretary (June
13, 2017), www.corporatesecretary.
6 Lydia Lum, “Women as General
Counsel,” Diversity and the Bar,
Nov./Dec., 2015, at 18–19.
7 Wald, supra note 1 at 1105–1106.
8 It is hoped that the general counsel
initiative to implement ABA resolution
113 will at least put some transparency
to the data relating to the true levels of
different diversity and the various levels
or responsibility within a law firm.
9 The B Team, The Diversity Paradox:
Capturing the Value of Difference by
Looking Beyond the Numbers (Jan. 13,
2015), available at http://issuu.com/
10 Sandra L. Colby and Jennifer M. Ortman,
“Projections of the Size and Composition
of the US Population: 2014 to 2060
(March, 2015),” available at www.
62 ASSOCIATION OF CORPORATE COUNSEL
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ACC EXTRAS ON… Diversity
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Trends and Developments for Companies
Placing Products on the EU Market
(Nov. 2016). www.accdocket.com/articles/
The Ugly Truth: Diversity in Fortune 500
Companies Unmasked (May 2017). www.
Driving Diversity and Inclusion from the Inside
Out (March 2017). www.accdocket.com/
A Personalized Approach: Kim Clancy’s
Simple Secret for Bringing Diversity into the
Boardroom (Jan./Feb. 2017). www.accdocket.
Putting Its Money Where the Diversity Is:
Corporate America’s Collaborative Actions to
Increase Diversity in Law Firms (Nov. 2016).
Equality, Diversity, and Discrimination in
the EU Workplace – What and How to
Eliminate/minimize Bias (July/Aug. 2016).
Diveristy in the workplace (June 2015).
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