On March 23, The Daily Journal published a "Diversity Special" covering various aspects of diversity in the legal profession. The special edition includes a front page article featuring Joseph K. West, Associate General Counsel in charge of outside counsel management for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The article examines numerous Wal-Mart directives for law firms to meet diversity-focused benchmarks, including Wal-Mart's most recent request for law firms to certify that origination credit goes to the relationship partner of Wal-Mart's choosing. The special report includes articles on gender diversity, Asian diversity, the impact of recent immigration trends, and programs to encourage diverse high school students to pursue the legal profession.
The Diversity Special also includes an article titled "LGBTs in the Legal Profession: Will It Get Better?" authored by Dominic Campodonico, Chair of the Diversity Committee in the San Francisco office of Gordon & Rees. Dominic addresses the state of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered diversity in the legal profession, focusing on two reports by the State Bar of California and the Bar Association of San Francisco on the status of inclusiveness of LGBTs. Dominic describes the challenges and solutions that are available to legal employers to facilitate the inclusion of LGBTs in diversity initiatives.
Dominic's article reflects a change currently underway among diversity organizations in the legal profession to incorporate the concept of inclusion into a broader definition of diversity. For example, the Diversity Committee of the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel declares its mission statement to be: "Promote diversity in its most inclusive sense among ACCA-SoCal members and those who serve them." Similarly, the Defense Research Institute's Diversity Statement states "Inclusiveness is the chief means to increase the diversity of DRI's membership and leadership positions. ... Accordingly, DRI encourages all national, state, and local defense organizations to promote diversity and inclusion in their membership and leadership." The emphasis on inclusion means diversity programs add broader societal differences beyond race, gender, and ethnicity, such as people who are from different cultures, speak different languages, have disabilities, and/or who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Please click here to read "LGBTs in the Legal Profession: Will It Get Better?"
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