In the Spotlight: Diversity and Inclusion-Focused Client Development Efforts

Posted on July 27, 2020 by J. David Harvey

The national conversation about racism and the need for social justice reached a boiling point after the death of George Floyd in May. Since then, law firms have been ramping efforts around what they can do to demonstrate their commitment to eradicating racism, and, within their organizations, how to support attorneys and staff of color. There are myriad ways to tackle this issue, but this article focuses on client and business development efforts that directly aim to support the efforts of diverse attorneys, as well as targeting clients that are also laser-focused on ensuring their work is increasingly handled by diverse teams.

In the legal sector, organizations like the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) emerged whose mission is to create a more diverse legal profession. Among other activities, the LCLD seeks to:

•       Build effective programs for hiring, developing, retaining, and promoting diverse talent;

•       Implement appropriate training, development, and mentoring programs designed to enhance the likelihood of the success and retention of our talent, with a particular focus on minorities and women;

•       Create an appropriate function to guide diversity and inclusion efforts; and,

•       Share information regarding best practices to foster the achievement of their objectives.

Other organizations focus on legal team diversity, especially with regards to outside counsel. For example, Diversity Lab launched the Mansfield Rule three years ago with 42 firms and is now up to 117 participating firms. Diversity Lab works with participating firms to annually measure the outcomes and iterate the program based on those outcomes to ensure firms continue to move towards their goal: diversify their leadership as much as possible. Diversity Lab recently launched its “Move the Needle” initiative, a kind of matchmaking between legal departments and outside counsel.

The five founding law firms have committed to: (1) invest more than $5M over five years; (2) set aggressive, public firm-specific diversity goals; (3) experiment with innovative, research-based methods to achieve them; (4) measure the outcomes; and (5) share the results — including the successes and failures — with each other and the community.  More recently, Diversity Lab has also arranged for business development coaching and training to select diverse partners at the founding firms. These attorneys receive one-on-one coaching and introductions to in-house legal departments that have indicated they are seeking to give more of their work to diverse attorneys.

Law firms that are at the leading edge of D&I client development efforts include Perkins Coie. This firm recently advertised a Director of Business Development, Diversity & Inclusion, who would focus specifically on identifying and connecting clients seeking to provide work to diverse attorneys. This position determines the appropriate attorneys of color or other diverse attorneys within the firm qualified to staff the work. The director will work closely with the firm’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, among others.

As more firms ramp up their D&I efforts, it is an excellent time to take stock and ask:

1.        What is your firm doing to support and give a leg-up to your diverse attorneys?

2.        Is your firm’s marketing department working in close coordination with your diversity officer to support lateral integration of new, diverse attorneys?

3.        Is your firm offering business development training and coaching to attorneys of color?

4.        Either through research or client feedback interviews, has your firm identified which of your clients have goals around staffing diverse teams?

5.        Do the pitch teams your firm puts together reflect diversity by gender and race?

Firms that are successful in addressing these questions will be better prepared to meet the increasing demand of their clients for diversity and inclusion in their outside counsel. Leading firms and organizations are already blazing the trail. The time is right to evaluate whether or not your firm is taking tangible steps towards these efforts and, if not, putting a plan in place to address shortfalls with a sense of urgency.

******************

About the Author – J. David “Dave” Harvey is the founder and President of Harvey Global Consulting LLC and an affiliate consultant for LawVision. Drawing on 20 years of experience leading business development efforts with AmLaw A-list firms, Dave advises law firm management, partners, associates, and marketing and business development leaders in successfully prioritizing and executing on their most important client development and marketing priorities. He also coaches individual partners and associates in defining and achieving their business development goals.


How Has Online Advertising for Law Firms Changed in Response to COVID-19 

Posted on May 19, 2020 by Joseph Lamport

Now is a great time for law firms to sharpen their digital marketing strategy, according to Robert Schmid, the VP of Zola Media.  Among other things, the COVID-19 has triggered major changes in consumer behavior and search patterns, which has created a new landscape of opportunity for law firms in the arena of SEO and PPC advertising.    

Read More


Most Popular Articles of 2019 

Posted on January 7, 2020 by Joseph Lamport

Top Ten ListAs part of a time-honored publishing tradition and service to our readers, here is a list of the most read stories that were featured in the Law Firm Marketing Brief in 2019.  What do you suppose it says about our readers and the state of the legal market in general that the top story was about what marketing leaders can do to help foster law firm innovation?

Read More


Lawyer, Know Thy Client 

Posted on October 30, 2019 by Joseph Lamport

Read More


Dear Mark .... Here's Why Practice Still Matters 

Posted on October 9, 2019 by Joseph Lamport

We may not become perfect through practice, but we may become more open to necessary change.    

Read More


The Platform is the Thing 

Posted on June 5, 2019 by Joseph Lamport

Platformization just may be the next big thing in the legal market.

Read More


Best Practices in an Era of Transformation 

Posted on May 15, 2019 by Joseph Lamport

Read More


Some Insight from a Business and Investing Legend 

Posted on May 1, 2019 by Joseph Lamport

There are only a handful of brief and shining moments in life when the slipcovers get removed and we are permitted to see and sit upon the real fabric with which the universe has been upholstered.  In this week’s blogpost I’m going to write about just such a moment that occurred for me as a young man, in fact, only about a decade out of law school, when as luck would have it, I had a chance to attend (in a semi-official capacity as a fly-on-the-wall) a meeting among three titans in the business world.

Read More


The Key to Successful Legal Blogging 

Posted on April 17, 2019 by Joseph Lamport

Read More


Why Brand Activation is So Damn Important for Law Firms (Part 2) 

Posted on March 27, 2019 by Joseph Lamport

Why is brand activation so damn important for law firms?  That’s the question I have set out to answer with this series of blogposts.  In the first installment I discussed how, for the most part, law firms have paid next to no attention to brand activation as part of their branding strategy.  In this second installment I’m going to explain why that’s such a mistake.  Brand activation is a huge overlooked opportunity that can deliver enormous benefits in improving the strength of your law firm brand.

Read More


Why Brand Activation is So Damn Important for Law Firms 

Posted on March 6, 2019 by Joseph Lamport

 It’s an oxymoron to speak of something as being on the cutting edge of the legal market.  I mean, the legal market tends to be backward leaning to say the least – the cutting edge to us generally looks like what people in many other markets were thinking about 10 to 15 years ago.  Case and point being how we are only now waking up to the importance of data-driven marketing, the lifetime value of a client and client-lifecycle management – concepts that were already well in vogue several decades ago in other markets and industries.

Read More


This is Marketing 

Posted on February 21, 2019 by Joseph Lamport

This Is Marketing is Seth Godin’s new book.  As you would expect from a great marketer like Godin, the title pretty much nails it.  If you want a book that will provide a crash course covering the keys ideas in the field of digital marketing today then this is a great place to start.

Read More


Latest Issue Topics


All content Copyright © 2020 PinHawk LLC. All Rights Reserved.