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Lawyers value analysis and critical thinking. For the legal industry to change, inclusion and diversity should be approached similarly while ensuring each strategy is driven and shaped by allowing data and research to inform.

How to Develop a Measurable Diversity Strategy

The Fish & Richardson law firm implemented a diversity strategic plan in 2017. The plan had KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), goals, and monthly reports issued to the management team. Stakeholders would also be engaged in the process. Change management techniques were applied, including ensuring there is a clear vision. Concepts such as inclusion and diversity were defined to ensure each individual knew what success means.

The reporting process and demographic data collection were centralized. A new role was also created to track and ensure the data is analyzed. The firm has also dedicated a considerable amount of resources to the strategic plan.

Building a Guiding Coalition and Relying on Experts

After the law firm launched the plan, more than 50 members of the firm’s leadership spent time with Dr. Robert Livingston and Dr. Iris Bohnet of the Harvard Kennedy School; these professionals shared data and research on the key role diversity plays in our future. They also looked into why historical efforts have been ineffective and what has been working to improve inclusion and diversity. The case brought forth by the experts was compelling.

To ensure the diversity journey has become a reality, the firm has invested a significant amount of time and money. The firm’s leadership has been using influence and power strategically to effect different changes.

Implementing Corresponding Initiatives and Policies

The law firm enabled action by getting rid of the barriers. For instance, they implemented the Mansfield Rule. They also created process charts since they are easy to follow. The instituted process improvements and parental leave policies were also updated to ease new parents’ administrative burden. Structured interviews were also launched for the entry-level candidates. The entry-level candidates would also undergo a just-in-time training methodology.

The law firm measured the results before and after to check whether there were some noticeable improvements. Short-term wins were generated, and events were hosted to bring together members of the affinity groups to make direct connections and reduce social isolation. The main focus was on sustaining the change by incorporating diversity in the law firm’s processes.