The social justice movement spawned by the murders of George Floyd and, tragically, too many others, has brought a renewed focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. This focus highlights that progress on diversity in the legal community has been disappointing at best. The legal profession stands out as one of the least diverse — how can that still be the case in 2021?
The “business case” for diversity is old news. Research conducted by preeminent research organizations has consistently found that diverse groups, companies, and boards perform better, achieve better results, and develop more creative solutions than those that are not diverse. In addition, more and more organizations have declared a commitment to a diverse workforce. Nevertheless, rhetoric clearly doesn’t match performance, especially in the legal profession.
In this talk, Rick Palmore will explore the reasons why the legal profession’s performance on DEI continues to disappoint, a general counsel’s role in demanding diversity and equity in outside counsel, and how BigLaw and small firms can be part of advancing DEI profession-wide.
Rick Palmore is Senior Counsel, Dentons US LLP. He is the retired Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer of General Mills and formerly was Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Sara Lee Corporation.
Rick is the author of the 2004 “Call to Action, Diversity in the Workplace” and is Founding Chair Emeritus of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.