Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs (Bloomberg BNA) hosted Big Law Business Diversity and Inclusion Conferences in New York City and San Francisco throughout the past two weeks. The events helped facilitate the collaboration of some of the most prominent in-house and law firm leaders, in addition to human resource specialists, to create solutions to diversity problems in law firms and corporate legal groups.

The Chief Legal Officers of around 500 major corporations signed a pledge in 1999 to improve the diversity of their teams. Sixteen years later, only minimal progress has been made. Though one third of the U.S. population and one fifth of law school graduates belong to a minority group, less than 7 percent of law firm partners and 9 percent of general counsels of large corporations are black, Latino, Asian American, or Native American.

As Bloomberg BNA states below one of its released videos from the conference, “It is common knowledge that the legal community remains one of the least diverse.” Though law firms have made some improvements in thinking about diversity during the hiring process, “[r]etaining and developing those individuals and leveraging the diverse perspectives they convey is where the true challenge lies.”

Bloomberg BNA has posted videos from the conference, one of the most popular being “Inclusion Strategies: Retain and Promote” for those who could not attend the events.

Article via Above the Law, November 6, 2015

Photo: Scania Executive Board 2010 via Scania Group [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

While wearable technology like Google Glass and Fitbit may appear to be better suited to consumer and recreational use, Marc Lambert from the firm Fennemore Craig has been creatively using wearable technology to better understand his clients and skillfully equip his lawyers. Lambert states that the process of introducing and using technology within his practice revolves around a “petri dish mentality”. Technology is routinely integrated into use within Lambert’s group, and then they evaluate whether the technology is benefitting their ability to help their clients. If the technology is found to have a positive impact on their work, other lawyers within the firm begin utilizing the technology.

One of the technologies that is allowing Lambert and his group to better communicate clients’ information is Google Glass. Lambert recounts using Google Glass to document how being a double amputee affects the day-to-day activities of client. Better than simply entering a demand letter or asking the client to describe their situation on the stand, Google Glass “is so effective is because it offered a first-person perspective on the hardships our client encountered each and every day of his life”, according to Lambert. Additionally, Lambert hopes that in future iterations of Google Glass hands-free video conferencing will allow him and his group to communicate with injured or handicapped clients that could not use other technology such as iPads to communicate as easily.

While Google Glass may seem more applicable to particular types of cases, Lambert utilizes Fitbits to determine how evidence may appear to focus jury groups. By asking focus groups to wear Fitbits and monitoring their heart rate as evidence is presented to them, Lambert can build a stronger case for his clients. Additionally, Fitbits could be used to provide support to clients’ claims that they are following their healthcare providers’ recommendations.

Though Lambert agrees that technology is a means to an end, it allows for better representation if “you buy in and aren’t simply paying lip service”. Technology is here to stay and innovation will lead to newer and more complex technologies. Therefore, as Lambert explains, it is  “important to educate other lawyers about how technology can be used and lead by example.”

Article via Above the LawSeptember 17, 2015

Photo: Becoming a cyborg via Jenn Vargas [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


While writing has always been part of the practice of law, many top firms have gone above and beyond by becoming more accesible to the public through blogs. More than 80% of BigLaw, or firms included in Am Law 200, are blogging, and approximately 962 individual blogs are being run by those firms and their attorneys.  Of the 962 blogs, 916 are “firm-branded”, with the firm claiming ownership of the blog and its content, but the rest are operated by individual lawyers. The latter is decreasing, though, as more firms take note of how blogs can be used to generate interest and eventually clients for the firm. With this in mind, the average firm runs six blogs, with each catering to different areas and topics. The most popular topics for blog posts range from employment and labor all the way to healthcare. Also, as law is changing and welcoming the new questions that technology brings, some more recent blogs focus on intellectual property, insurance, and international law. Even though blog topics are addressing relevant concerns, most law firms are not utilizing newer resources such as responsive design, which makes blogs more accessible to readers using mobile devices.

Though law firms can certainly use blogs as part of their marketing, many firms opt out of making them a part of their site, instead only including a link to the firm’s website on the blog. This opens up many more options for the blog, including possible inclusion in articles by Google News or the ability to have a profound effect on opinions in a certain area. Developing this influence in a particular niche is something the most visited blogs do well, along with posting frequently and being well-maintained. By only focusing on a specific area, certain blogs are quickly becoming a main source of news for topics such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or pharmaceutical patents and intellectual property. Blogging about specific but relevant topics in an easy-to-read manner keeps readers returning to read more.

Article via Above the Law, July 8, 2015

Photo: Untitled via SuzieWong [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]