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May 6, 2009

Gay/lesbian recognition apparently still lagging in law firm diversity measures and efforts

The National Law Journal reports that "[s]ome of the most powerful attorneys in the profession will gather on May 6 in the New York offices of Debevoise & Plimpton to discuss a matter that has long plagued their profession: diversity, or rather the lack thereof, in the attorney ranks." 

The meeting will mark the incorporation of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, a new organization comprising law firm managing partners and general counsel. The mission is to advance the Call to Action — the landmark 2004 document calling for greater commitment to diversity within legal departments that was signed by the general counsel to many of the largest companies in the United States. The council plans to develop strategies for promoting diversity throughout the industry and hold legal leaders accountable for the makeup of their legal staff.

The article makes no mention of gays and lesbians, so it's unclear whether sexual orientation is included in these leaders' definition of diversity.

The NLJ's sister publication Minority Law Journal reported last week on its annual Diversity Scorecard.  Although gays and lesbians are not included in the scorecard, this year for the first time MLJ attempted to gather data on gay and lesbian lawyers.  "It’s worth noting, however," MLJ says, "that this data seems to be less complete than some of our other data. Some 55 firms said that either they had no openly gay or lesbian lawyers or that they did not track this information."

Data on firms with the most gay and lesbian lawyers is available on the MLJ's "Measures of Diversity" page.

-SS

May 6, 2009 | Permalink

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