Creating Pathways to Diversity Research Report
The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) was founded in 1997 to advocate for the expanded hiring, promotion and retention of minority attorneys in legal departments and the law firms that serve them. MCCA’s efforts focus on the research, collection and dissemination of information related to the status of diversity in the legal profession and the use of the information as tools to achieve the association’s mission. Since its inception, MCCA has conducted and distributed a number of studies examining the state of diversity in corporate law departments.
The latest research study, “Creating Pathways to Diversity,” is a critical step toward moving the legal profession to a higher state of awareness and readiness on the issue of diversity.
The objectives of the study were to:
1) qualify and illuminate the best practices for the design and implementation of diversity initiatives in law departments; and
2) outline a strategy, programs and metrics that law departments can use to increase the recruitment, retention and promotion of minority and women attorneys.
This report is the first phase of a planned three-year project. The three phases are indicated below:
- Year 1: Gather baseline information on best practices in corporate law departments to begin developing measurement criteria or metrics for those efforts.
- Year 2: Develop standard metrics used to evaluate the results.
- Year 3: Apply the metrics developed in Year 2 to conduct an evaluation of how law departments are performing against these metrics.
In addition to this “Pathways” report, MCCA has created a Diversity Best Practices Workbook to provide law departments with a comprehensive collection of “first draft” action plans for more than 25 possible diversity initiatives. A law department can select and modify these “first draft” plans to fit its needs and circumstances. (For specific information on the Workbook, contact MCCA.)
The Research Team
The Pathways study research represented in this report was conducted for MCCA by Hubbard & Revo-Cohen, Inc. (HRC), a consulting firm with an international practice in work force diversity and inclusion. Founded by Karetta Hubbard and Lynne Revo-Cohen in 1984, HRC has built a solid reputation as a leader in the field of work force diversity and equitable compensation. HRC frequently works closely with corporate law departments and human resources departments in conducting diversity engagements. The HRC staff has vast experience in designing and conducting research in the diversity/inclusion/EEO areas.
The Selection Process
Sixteen corporate law departments were selected from various industries across the country to participate in the best practices study. Participants were selected from a database that MCCA maintains on diversity in law departments. These participants were interviewed by telephone. Some of them provided documents for review and analysis by the project team.
The common denominators among the participants were any one of the following:
- Diversity is incorporated into the strategic plan.
- Reports from the diversity committee and/or the human resources department are reviewed regularly by senior management of the law department.
- They are recipients of MCCA’s Diversity 2000 Award or have been recognized by other groups for their diversity initiatives.
Breakdown of Pathways Study Participants by Demographic Representation
|Attorneys||Minority Attorneys||Women Attorneys||Direct Reports||Minority Direct Reports||Women Direct Reports|
1 Percent of the total number of attorneys or direct reports.
Data Collection Methods
The following data collection methods were used in the study:
Types of Data Collected
# of Companies
Document Review and Analysis*
Gap analysis to discover the disparities between policy and practice or experience
Documentation of Program Components (surveys, tools, plans, etc.).
To find out specific details of the companies' diversity initiatives and create a statistical sample that allows comparison across all participants.
Data was broken down into demographic groups (men, women, people of color, Caucasians).
*Five companies did not submit documents for review.