Although diversity is covered regularly in InsideCounsel's bi-monthly "Driving Diversity" column, it's always beneficial to reinforce such an important issue. This month, I would like to offer my thoughts and suggestions on the importance of diversity, and particularly the legal department's role. Every corporate legal department needs to set the gold standard for diversity in the workplace. The general counsel can't ask other executives of the company to develop diverse functional teams without first building a diverse legal department that demonstrates the values of diversity in the workplace.
Of course, the first task is to assemble a work force in the legal department that incorporates diversity among its legal, paralegal and administrative staff. However, merely building a diverse work force in the corporate setting is not the ultimate goal. This is where the management piece of the equation fits in. When properly managed, a diverse group will demonstrate increases in creativity and productivity, new attitudes among the department members, and the development of new processes and solutions.