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Notes from the President & CEO

Celebrating Diversity within the Legal Profession

Jean LeeAMERICA RECENTLY CELEBRATED ITS 240TH BIRTHDAY on July 4 and since its founding in 1776, its fabric of citizens has changed drastically, according to the U. S. Census Bureau. Of 319 million U.S. citizens, 51% are female, 54 million are Latino, 40 million are senior citizens, 27 million are disabled, 18 million are Asian, 9 million are LGBTQ and 3.5 million are Muslim. Almost half the country belongs to minority groups. This is an excellent reminder that “everyday Americans” are more diverse than ever before. It’s also a painful reminder that the legal profession still has work to do.

According to the American Bar Association’s 2016 National Lawyer Population Survey, there are 1.3 million licensed lawyers in the U.S. Women make up 36% of those lawyers. 88% of the 1.3 million lawyers are white. On the flip side, law student numbers tell a different story. Female law students comprise 47% of the 2013-2014 academic year, and 28% are minorities. We know there is a disconnect between the percentage of women and minority law students vs. licensed lawyers. MCCA Diversity Gala honorees are bridging that diversity gap one small step at a time.

One night each year, MCCA and the legal profession come together to celebrate the efforts corporate legal departments and law firms are making toward diversifying our profession. In July, the MCCA Gala celebrated leaders in corporate legal departments by honoring our Employers of Choice: Bank of America, Exelon Corporation, Kellogg Company, Home Depot and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. We also applauded the work of the Thomas L. Sager Award Finalists, the law firms who are on the frontline of diversity efforts. Akin Gump, Littler and Sheppard Mullin are law firms heralding diversity within their law firm.

To find out more about how these corporate legal departments and law firms create diverse legal teams, our upcoming September/October issue will feature in-depth articles about them and our other winners. You will learn about the Lifetime Achievement Award honoree former Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.; the Paula L. Ettelbrick Award honoree Lisa A. Linsky from McDermott, Will & Emery, LLP; and the George B. Vashon Innovator Award honorees Winston & Strawn and WGL Holdings, Inc.’s Leslie T. Thornton, senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. Thank you to all of the corporate legal departments and FANs who supported this event. It truly was a beautiful night celebrating leaders and legacies.

MCCA is conducting research to measure our profession’s progress in corporate legal departments and law firms. We will use the results of the research to develop best practices and training for our members to improve diversity at all levels. To be effective, we need your help. Please take a moment to complete our Corporate Demographic Survey and encourage your colleagues to do the same. It will help MCCA update and provide a more accurate picture of where we are today and how we can collaborate to be better. Thank you for your continued support of MCCA and its mission.

Jean Lee
President & CEO

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Jean Lee
President & CEO

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Kimberly A. Howard, CAE

 

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Past Notes from the President & CEO RSS Feed

Summary: AMERICA RECENTLY CELEBRATED ITS 240TH BIRTHDAY on July 4 and since its founding in 1776, its fabric of citizens has changed drastically, according to the U. S. Census Bureau. Of 319 million U.S. citizens, 51% are female, 54 million are Latino, 40 million are senior citizens, 27 million are disabled, 18 million are Asian, 9 million are LGBTQ and 3.5 million are Muslim. Almost half the country belongs to minority groups. This is an excellent reminder that “everyday Americans” are more diverse than ever before. It’s also a painful reminder that the legal profession still has work to do.

Summary: Change is a word that brings out both joy and angst in people. Although I have worked as your CEO for less than 60 days, my staff and I have been extremely busy. Along with that work comes a certain amount of change so that MCCA continues to thrive.

Summary: As your new president and CEO, I am thrilled to be in the pages of Diversity & the Bar. Our annual Rising Stars cover story about 15 upcoming lawyers to watch is a beautiful reminder of not only who some of our diverse counsel are but how they came to practice law and give back to the community.

Summary: AS 2016 KICKS OFF, the MCCA team has created three showcase educational opportunities for you. I encourage you to plan on attending any or all of these events. I will attend all three and hope to see you and members of your team participating. Not only do MCCA events offer excellent CLE-approved legal programming, they are intimate enough that you and your team can make networking matter.

Summary: PRESIDENT OBAMA recently hosted the first ever White House Demo Day which focused on the need for greater inclusiveness in the venture capital and tech sectors and which highlighted the administration’s TechHire initiative. A White House press release revealed some startling statistics that these initiatives are designed to address.

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The flagship publication of the Minority Corporate Counsel association, Diversity and The Bar® lets you turn your workplace diversity and inclusion into a business advantage. Promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and show your support of MCCA’s mission. Reach decision makers that value and support your diversity initiatives.
 

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