Legal Lags Behind Other Industries on Inclusion, Survey Says


Bloomberg Law | November 30, 2020

The Bloomberg Law article, "Legal Lags Behind Other Industries on Inclusion, Survey Says​," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Tina Shah Paikeday and featured the new inclusion index survey that we created in partnership with the Minority Corporate Counsel Assocation. The article is excerpted below.

The legal industry continues to underperform other professional services when it comes to diversity and inclusion and lost ground on several metrics over the last two years, according to a new survey.

The new inclusion index survey from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and executive search consultancy Russell Reynolds Associates asked nearly 300 in-house and law firm attorneys, most of whom were non-white or female, to rate their employers on diversity and inclusion.

One key area where law firms and legal departments scored well below professional services counterparts, which include accounting and consulting firms, was “belonging.” The legal industry received a rating of 3.35 out of 5 on “belonging” within their organization, compared to the professional services benchmark score of 3.75.

This indicates that lawyers, especially lawyers of color, don’t feel that they can be themselves at work, and their voice isn’t heard in their organization.

“Essentially, if you’re diverse, you can show up at a law firm or a legal department, but you don’t necessarily feel like you can be your true and authentic self. It’s almost like attorneys have to cover a bit to fit in and be part of the organization,” said Tina Shah Paikeday, the head of global diversity, equity, and inclusion advisory services for Russell Reynolds.

Professional services also significantly outperformed legal in areas like “working across differences,” where these firms scored 4.10 compared to legal’s 3.56, and “organizational fairness” where legal scored 3.4 compared to 4.04 for professional services.

In some cases, the legal industry scored lower on the D&I index than it did in 2018, the first and most recent time the survey was conducted.

“I think heightened expectation causes lower scores, and I think expectations got higher because there’s now a sense of understanding around the term ‘equity,’” said Paikeday. “We used to just call it diversity and inclusion, and now, even in the practice that I lead at Russell Reynolds, we’ve renamed it to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

This change, plus the national dialogue and protests around race and justice that occurred this summer following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police, has emboldened diverse lawyers to speak up about their negative workplace experiences, she added.

To read the full article and discover more key findings, click here.

Sign up for our newsletter

Get the newsletter that prepares you for what's next with valuable insights across industries and geographies.
Legal Lags Behind Other Industries on Inclusion, Survey Says