Dusting Off Your Firm's Diversity and Inclusion Plan: 10 Key Steps to Building a Framework for Success

AuthorBy Kelly J. Bundy and Nicholas K. Holmes
THE CONSTRUCTION LAWYER 27Volume 41, Issue 4, 2022
Dusting O Your Firm’s Diversity
and Inclusion Plan: 10 Key Steps to
Building a Framework for Success
By Kelly J. Bundy and Nicholas K. Holmes
Most law rms have some stated
commitment to diversity, be it
a paragraph or page on their
webpage, or a statement made
to job candidates in an interview.
But while stating a commitment
to diversity, equity, and inclu-
sion is a rst step, creating a
more diverse, equitable, and
inclusive workplace takes more
concrete action. While women,
minorities, and other histori-
cally disadvantaged groups have
continued to make incremental
gains in the legal profession,
the gains continue to be slow
to come—evidencing that the
issues facing diverse lawyers
are not self-correcting.
is much work to be done. This article identies concrete
steps that law rms should take to begin building a frame-
work to support the long-term, systemic, cultural change
needed in the legal profession.
1. Assess Your Baseline—Evaluate the Current State
of Diversity and Inclusion at Your Firm.
Be candid with yourselves and your rm’s policies. Where
does your rm really stand in terms of diversity and inclu-
sion? Even if your rm “talks the talk,” does your rm
really “walk the walk”? Investing time to collect and
evaluate data is invaluable. Collect and analyze both
quantitative and qualitative data to determine where your
rm stands, and just as importantly, how employees expe-
rience your rm from within and how others (e.g., clients
and competitors) view your rm.
a. Examine What Data Your Firm Regularly Collects
and Gather and Analyze Quantitative Data.
The good news is that your rm may already have data
to mine. Determine what statistical data your rm has
available. Quantitative statistics on rm population may
be easiest to collect—for example, how many female
versus male associates does your rm employ? How do
those percentages change from associates to nonequity
partners to equity partners? Examine the same statistics
for race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and identity, and
other diverse criteria. Similarly, examine the population
of diverse lawyers in leadership positions—be it prac-
tice group or section leadership, committee leadership,
the rm’s board of directors and/or management com-
mittee, or others.
Data on retention and other demographic factors may
be more difcult to gather. Even in the event your rm
conducts exit interviews, evaluate whether the interviews
truly solicit candid feedback and responses. Nevertheless,
examining statistical data on departures from your rm
can be revealing. Are diverse lawyers statistically leaving
your rm at specic times of their careers and/or lives—
whether two or three years after joining your rm, around
the time of promotion consideration, or before or after
starting a family? If so, these trends may be indicative
of a larger problem.
b. Qualitative Data Are Just as Important as the
Quantitative Data.
Qualitative data are just as important and can be equally
or more revealing. Soliciting feedback from attorneys and
employees allows a diversity and inclusion (D&I) team
and rm leadership to better ascertain how others experi-
ence your rm. Qualitative data may be collected with the
use of surveys, focus groups, or some combination thereof.
Depending upon your rm’s current culture and the
emphasis it has placed on diversity and inclusion in the
past, the D&I team may need to determine the best man-
ner in which to solicit qualitative feedback. If attorneys
and employees at your rm feel hesitant to self-identify
or have concerns about being identied based upon their
responses, then surveys may need to be anonymous and
condential to encourage fulsome and candid responses.
If your rm elects to use a survey, be considerate of
length: A survey that is too short will fail to solicit suf-
cient information, but a survey that is too long may
discourage potential respondents from participating.
Fewer than 50 questions on a variety of topics may be
helpful. Topics for consideration may include the follow-
ing: (i) whether employees feel included and welcome
at your rm; (ii) employees’ willingness to share ideas
Kelly Bundy
Nick Holmes
continued on page 30
Published in
The Construction Lawyer
, Volume 41, Number 4. © 2022 American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not
be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

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