In-house counsel get to know the outside counsel team members in different ways. Some departments hold annual mandatory meetings with all outside counsel to discuss vision, values and performance, while others address these areas one on one. It is most helpful for in-house counsel to clearly state the obvious to outside counsel: You are expected to learn about the company and its culture and to take that into consideration when representing the company.

Outside counsel should consider reviewing the Call to Action Web site,, and to determine whether any of their clients are listed as signatories or participants. That information can provide insight into the expectations of in-house counsel at particular companies.


After scrutinizing internal metrics about the in-house department, the outside firm, the project or case team and identifying areas for improvement and implementing a plan to accomplish improvement, it is important to take a broader, external view and consider how to diversify in the profession as a whole via outreach programs.

Outreach efforts which can take many practical and concrete forms:

  • supporting diverse bar associations by joining and participating in events,
  • including diverse students in law firm and law department summer programs,
  • offering diverse students access to law firm and law department internships,
  • providing scholarships for diverse law students,
  • funding programs that introduce undergraduates to the legal profession,
  • coordinating with organizations to encourage diverse students to excel college by providing funding or mentors,
  • donating to organizations with curricula tailored to diverse students in grades K-12 who have intellect and skill but might not complete school or consider college if they have not met anyone who has gone to college and do not think that they can afford to attend.

Outreach efforts address the issue most often raised by outside counsel: There are not enough diverse law students. It is true that the percentage of ethnically diverse law students does not match the percentage of ethnically diverse people in the state of California or in the country. However, it is also true that diverse students may attend a wider variety of schools or may have completed a different career path en route to law school. It is incumbent upon law firms to become familiar with the entire market of law schools to locate talent.

Diversity Viewpoints

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