Honor the People Who Made a Difference
Consult any article, research report, scholarly journal, or advisory resource on diversity best practices and you will uniformly hear the same message: The vision for a diverse and inclusive workplace must start at the top of the organization. Without the support of executive management, and specifically thechief executive, even the best-planned and well-intended diversity program will fail.
Since 2000, MCCA® has been engaged in an intensive multi-year research program titled, Creating Pathways to Diversity®.1 The research takes a hard look at what is required for corporate law departments and the law firms that serve them to build workplaces of inclusion. It also establishes a set of metrics to track where organizations are, versus where they want to go. MCCA’s® research report for law firms is the most extensive study ever conducted. The quantitative data was collected from more than 120 of the nation’s largest corporate law firms. The qualitative data was compiled from focus groups conducted with more than 160 lawyers at various career stages from all over the country, equally representing the views of men of color, women of color, white women, and white men.
One of the critical findings of Creating Pathways to Diversity® is that at the majority of law firms, there is still a profound lack of understanding and acceptance of the business case for diversity. To these law firms, MCCA® advises: Wake up! These days, diversity is being championed using a “dollars and sense” argument that few can ignore, especially when it comes from the mouths of the chief executive officers of the clients you serve or wish that you could.
On the pages that follow, MCCA® is very proud to offer the views of several of the world’s leading CEOs. In their own words, these CEOs tell us why they champion diversity in the corporations that they lead, and they’ve offered insights into how their commitment resonates throughout their organizations. We thank them for candidly sharing their views and insights.
This issue of Diversity & the Bar® also spotlights several individuals who, through legislation, leadership, and lifestyle, have caused us to look at the physically and mentally challenged in a whole new way.
Over this past summer, America lost an important human rights champion, Justin Dart, Jr., who is widely regarded as the father of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the godfather of the disability rights movement. To him, we owe many thanks for his tireless work in pursuit of a more inclusive America, and in his honor, may we all recommit ourselves to making a difference.
Vision. Commitment. Inclusion. It starts at the top!
Veta T. Richardson
1. MCCA® extends its appreciation to Board member Elpidio Villarreal of General Electric Company and to Barry G. Felder, Monica B. Richman, and Valerie W. Borden of the law firm Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner LLP, for the firm’s pro bono work to assist MCCA® with the registration of its trademarks.
From the November 2002 issue of Diversity & The Bar®