General counsel report mixed progress promoting diversity, equity & inclusion practices: ACC survey

Majority of GCs report that they do not ask law firms to track KPIs

General counsel report mixed progress promoting diversity, equity & inclusion practices: ACC survey

Despite success promoting diversity, equity and inclusion practices among their own teams, general counsel are struggling to influence change across their wider organizations, according to a new report.

The Association of Corporate Counsel, in partnership with the General Counsel Oath initiative, has unveiled the General Counsel Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Survey which outlines the impact and sentiment of general counsel and chief legal officers around DEI. 

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • General counsel are experiencing only moderate support and success promoting DEI progress
  • While the majority of GC currently do not request their law firms track advanced DEI KPIs, those that do observe significant headway in achieving DEI progress
  • While the strongest level of participation came from GC based in the US, the responses show a high degree of global input, suggesting DEI topics remain top of mind in many parts of the world.

“It is encouraging to see that general counsel and chief legal officers are generally finding success in promoting DEI practices within their own departments,” said Veta T. Richardson, president & CEO of ACC.  “Yet, despite the clear benefits and increased focus on DEI in recent years, that success doesn’t seem to be translating to organizations as a whole. While resources and bandwidth may differ, consistent and vocal leadership is critical to help move DEI practices forward regardless of an organization’s size or geography.”

Building on the ideals and values found in the GC Oath introduced by ACC member and Entain group general counsel Simon Zinger in 2020, this survey aims to provide an overview of how GC/CLOs around the world view DEI in the context of individual progress impacting DEI within their legal team, wider organizational progress, and progress made by law firms they work with on cultivating diverse teams. 

“The impetus for launching this global survey was my desire to understand whether GC were making progress with their team and organizational commitments around DEI,” said Zinger. “Although many GC have identified with the General Counsel Oath, it felt important to ask GCs around the world about their perceived levels of actual progress and to consider whether more could be done.  This survey suggests areas where there is still work to do and encourages GCs to continue playing leadership roles in progressing DEI inside their organizations.”

The GC DEI Survey was completed by 232 respondents spanning 28 countries around the world.

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