X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
It’s been a banner year for minority GCs. Seven of the nation’s Fortune500 companies opted for diversity in their choice of top lawyer, including such heavy hitters as Dole Food Co. Inc., McDonald’s Corp. and Sara Lee Corp., according to a recent survey from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. That brings the total number of minority chief legal officers at major companies to 21 — a stunning increase from 18 months ago, when there were just seven such GCs, total. Why the sudden surge? Veta Richardson, Washington, D.C.-based MCCA’s executive director, says that increased emphasis on diversity — coupled with changing demographics — have made corporate America “more comfortable” seeing minorities in top legal slots. Grassroots efforts such as roundtables, lawyer mentoring and other active outreach programs have helped, too. “These programs don’t just draw diversity into the spotlight,” Richardson says. “They create real opportunities for individuals.” It also helps, says Richardson, that “these people are stars.” She points to the new crop’s impressive credentials, adding that many of the new appointees give back to the diversity movement by volunteering their time and energy. One case in point is Wayne Budd, the African-American general counsel and executive vice president of John Hancock Financial Services Inc. Throughout a career that has included positions as Massachusetts’ chief federal prosecutor; an associate U.S. attorney general under the first President Bush; and, most recently, group president of Bell Atlantic-New England, Budd has worked as an avid mentor and community leader. He says diversity efforts must go beyond the workplace. “You have to target both the public and private sector [to promote minorities to leadership roles],” Budd says. He adds that it’s “not enough” to sensitize organizations: “You need to develop a critical mass of leaders.” Looking ahead, Budd and Richardson anticipate a continued rise in the minority GC ranks. “Diversity makes an awful lot of sense from a business perspective,” Budd says, noting that companies are becoming more aware of the practical benefits of having a legal staff with whom customers and clients identify. Although she is “delighted” by the new numbers, Richardson cautions that “much more work needs to be done.” After all, 21 might seem like a lot, but it’s a drop in the bucket among the Fortune500. Related chart

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.