This afternoon, I have the great fortune to be sitting in on a program by the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession on “Deconstructing Racial Bias.” Their first speaker was Sharon Jones, the CEO of Jones Diversity Inc. and author of Mastering the Game: Strategies for Career Success. She had many brilliant and sobering things to share with the audience, but the one that she left us with was the idea that firms and companies shouldn’t be striving for color-blindness. You may be familiar with this idea as  people saying “I don’t see color,” or “the ideal world is where we don’t recognize color.” But what we should be striving for instead is color-inclusion.

How do we do this? Sharon has four recommendations:

  • Require diverse legal teams and track the hours that diverse lawyers spend to ensure that they’re working an equal number of hours.
  • Require search firms to provide you with a diverse slate, and don’t make hiring decisions until you’ve seen a fully diverse slate.
  • Be willing to look at the data that you have on diversity, and if it’s not becoming more diverse in your firm or company, ASK WHY. Ask the hard questions and don’t accept the flimsy excuses that Black and brown people are getting multiple job offers (this is false), that they want to only practice certain types of law (ask them) or that you can’t find them (you’re not looking).
  • Make sure that lawyers of color have powerful and influential sponsors.

Here is the written paper that the program is based on, and the agenda for today. The replay of the program is well worth watching, and I’ll share the link as it’s available.

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Photo of Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles…

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles recruitment, member retention, and a high level of service to members. She is engaged in the legal industry to stay on top of trends, both in law firms and law firm networks.

In her role as Executive Director, she develops and facilitates relationships among ILN member firm lawyers at 90+ law firms in 67 countries, and seeks opportunities for member firms to build business and relationships, while ensuring member participation in Network events and initiatives. These initiatives include facilitating referrals, the management and execution of the marketing and business development strategy for the Network, which encompasses all communications, push-down efforts, and marketing partnerships, providing support and guidance to the chairs and group leaders for the ILN’s thirteen practice and industry specialty groups, the ILN’s women’s initiative, the ILN’s mentorship program, the management and execution of all ILN conferences, and more.

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2019

During her previous tenure as Director of Global Relationship Management, the ILN has been shortlisted as a Global Law Firm Network of the Year by The Lawyer for 2016 and 2017, and included as a Chambers & Partners Leading Law Firm Network since 2011. She was awarded “Thought Leader of the Year” by the Legal Marketing Association’s New York chapter in 2014 for her substantive contributions to the industry, and was recently included in Clio’s list for “34 People in Legal You Should Follow on Twitter.” She was also chosen for the American Bar Association Journal’s inaugural Web 100‘s Best Law Blogs, where judge Ivy Grey said “This blog is outstanding, thoughtful and useful.” Ms. Griffiths was recently chosen for as a Top Author by JD Supra in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards, for the level of engagement and visibility she attained with readers on the topic of marketing & business development. She has been the author of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking since February of 2009.