Thomson Reuters Legal SYNERGY2021: Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Panel
It’s Day 2 of the Thomson Reuters Legal SYNERGY user conference, where legal professionals from the U.S., Canada, the UK and Europe are gathering virtually for product sessions and continuing legal education as well as opportunities to network with peers and hear from fascinating guests. Throughout the conference, Legal Current is sharing presenters’ SYNERGY session recaps.
This guest post was written by Barb McGivern, general manager of Midsize Law Firms at Thomson Reuters. She moderated the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Panel, leading a conversation with two industry leaders who have made a significant impact on the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the legal profession: Jami McKeon, chair of Morgan Lewis, and Thomas Kim, chief legal officer and company secretary for Thomson Reuters. Both serve on the advisory council for the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, which is supported by Morgan Lewis and Thomson Reuters. McGivern shares highlights from their discussion.
It was an honor to be part of this panel and to hear perspectives and insights from genuine DE&I leaders. The overarching theme of our conversation was how DE&I initiatives are a cultural and business imperative that should be part of the overall commitment of an organization. DE&I efforts should be prioritized and integral to organizations’ operations.
We discussed how diverse teams and organizations make better decisions by bringing different perspectives to the table, enabling better problem solving and – overall – leading to more interesting places to work.
McKeon and Kim emphasized how positive, open environments allow people to be their whole authentic selves, leading to better performance of both individuals and teams. This resonated with me – the idea of bringing your whole self to work. We talked about how wellbeing, which is closely tied to inclusion, includes all aspects of one’s life. It’s about working together, and instead of work-life balance, the focus should be on life balance.
Also, McKeon noted that the legal industry has made significant progress advancing DE&I in many areas – such as with parental leave programs and more women in leadership roles – but continues to lag in areas of racial and ethnic equity. Both of our panelists’ organizations had specific achievements to point to, such as Thomson Reuters support of pro bono legal efforts and Morgan Lewis’ Implicit Bias Training Program.
We had a meaningful conversation, and I hope it inspires others in the legal profession to shine a spotlight on places where DE&I progress is being made and to work harder in the areas where we have more work to do.