(CLE 60 min – DEI)
Law firms and other employers are prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as never before, but many still are struggling to create work environments in which Black lawyers feel they can thrive. As a result, firms’ progress on hiring, retaining, and promoting valued talent from minority groups continues to be disappointing. Many are wondering: “What are we doing wrong?”
To try to provide some insights, Harvard Business School Professor Ranjai Gulati (along with his colleague Frank Cooper III) conducted interviews and focus groups with Black executives working in a variety of blue-chip companies with strong DEI programs about their workplace experiences. They found that, despite their employers’ efforts to implement DEI best practices, many Black executives felt isolated, unable to be authentic, and less confident.
Drawing on his findings (summarized in a recent Harvard Business Review article “What Do Black Executives Really Want?”), Professor Gulati will offer concrete ways for legal employers and individual managers to make a difference by ensuring that Black employees feel safe, seen, and supported. Building workplace cultures that are attentive and tailored to the individual and varying needs of lawyers in firms’ diverse workforces has the powerful potential to achieve many positive outcomes that legal employers care about, including individual-level experiences of well-being, belonging, authenticity, and effectiveness, as well as organizational-level goals, such as attracting and retaining valued talent from historically marginalized groups.
Professor Gulati will be joined by Preston Pugh, a partner at Crowell & Moring LLP, who will share his own insights arising from Prof. Gulati’s work and his personal experiences in the legal profession.
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