This sounds cool. Several years ago, General Counsel from several hundred companies drafted and signed the Diversity Call to Action - a statement of principals and tasks to improve diversity in law firms and legal departments. Not a lot has changed, so Rick Palmore of General Mills has called a meeting in Scottsdale on April 25 - 26 to get law firm Managing Partners and in-house GC's to come up with a plan to make a difference. According to a law.com article,
"The goal is to have a collaborative discussion between the general counsels and the managing partners about what we can do to move the needle on this issue," said Roderick Palmore, executive vice president, general counsel and chief compliance and risk management officer at General Mills Inc., who wrote Call To Action in 2004.
Call To Action outlines goals for corporations to follow in order to improve diversity in their own offices and in the law firms they hire, focusing on gender, race and sexual orientation. About 90 general counsels have signed Call To Action, including those from The Boeing Co.; Prudential Financial Inc.; Microsoft Corp.; Johnson & Johnson; Tyson Foods Inc.; The Coca-Cola Co.; and Bank of America Corp.
In moving more aggressively toward specific goals, Call To Action is attempting to address a growing problem. Last year, for example, women made up less than 33 percent of lawyers employed in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Blacks made up less than 5 percent, Asians 2.6 percent and Hispanics 4.3 percent.
"The statistics speak for themselves," Palmore said. "They say our progress in the profession has been disappointing." Call To Action is the second major nationwide effort at improving diversity in the legal profession. About a decade ago, the American Bar Association worked with Charles Morgan, then-general counsel of BellSouth Corp., to come up with another initiative called, "Diversity in the Workplace: A Statement of Principle," which was signed by hundreds of general counsel executives. "
Interested? There is still time to sign up. Here is the
Keynote speakers include former Secretary of State Warren Christopher and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Contact: Richard Tom, 626-302-4430.