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Law Firm Diversity: Just Do It

It was hardly an overstatement for Bruce MacEwen to title his post today, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Diversity. In a lengthy essay, by blog standards, he does not cover everything, but he does explore in depth the question of whether more diverse firms perform better by economic standards. As he frames it: "Do diversity initiatives, in other words, have a positive ROI?"

MacEwen begins by examining the fairly grim state of diversity within the legal profession. He considers first the numbers reported by The Minority Law Journal's 2006 Diversity Scorecard and in a new report from the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, Visible Invisibility: Women of Color in Law Firms. He notes also the efforts by corporate America to pressure law firms to ratchet up their efforts to achieve meaningful diversity. He also looks at the numbers reported by Richard Sander on racial disparities in bar passage rates.

But then he turns to the economic evidence in the case for diversity. There he finds a sizable selection of "utterly compelling" literature "on diversity's beneficent impacts on creativity, innovation and agility." After highlighting key conclusions of the economic literature, MacEwen arrives at this conclusion:

Do it for your bottom line?  Do it because it's the right thing?  Do it for more variety and some more just plain interesting colleagues in the workplace?  Pick your justification.

But Just Do It.

In those last three words, MacEwen may have summed up everything a firm needs to know about diversity.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on January 19, 2007 at 03:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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