- Thirty-seven percent of in-house legal department leaders said their organizations do not have recruiting strategies in place to improve diversity, equity and inclusion among their internal teams, according to a recent report from the search firm BarkerGilmore.
- Of the 63% of respondents whose organizations have DEI strategies in place, the most common strategy is intentionally seeking out a diverse slate of candidates.
- The largest share of respondents (42%) said their organizations have one DEI recruiting strategy in place, according to the survey featuring responses from general counsel and managing counsel across the U.S.
While many organizations profess a desire to strengthen the diversity of their teams, including their legal departments, BarkerGilmore’s recent survey indicates businesses could be doing a lot more to support DEI.
Additionally, those organizations that have implemented multiple strategies are finding some success that could encourage other businesses to follow suit.
For example, respondents whose organizations are using three DEI recruiting strategies reported having 14 percentage points more diverse legal teams and 12 percentage points more diverse senior leadership teams than respondents not using any recruiting strategies.
Similarly, those respondents who have implemented two DEI recruiting strategies reported their legal teams were 10 percentage points more diverse than respondents not using any such strategies.
“Even teams that implemented only one strategy reported higher percentages of representation among in-house legal and senior leadership teams compared to groups that did not use DEI strategies,” the report said.
However, only 2% of respondents said their organizations have implemented three DEI recruiting strategies and just 19% have implemented two strategies.
The highest percentage of respondents, 42%, said their organization has put in place one such strategy.
Overall, 23% of respondents report they have implemented the strategy of intentionally seeking a diverse slate of candidates. This approach is “a logical first step to hiring a diverse staff,” the report said.
The second most common strategy is a requirement that a diverse candidate be included in every search (15%).
Additionally, 7% of respondents reported networking with organizations that work with members of underrepresented groups, and the same percentage reported including at least one member of a historically underrepresented group on a search committee.
“Seeking candidates who may not fit into the organization’s usual requirements for experience and educational background helps broaden the range of candidates available,” the report said. “Moreover, by using a diverse search team, organizations invite a diverse perspective on the candidates and demonstrate the organization’s commitment to diversity to candidates.”
BarkerGilmore said it conducted the online survey in November 2022 to understand the measures organizations and legal departments were taking to improve DEI and the success of those measures. The survey generated 88 responses.