CBA Record January-February 2022

PRESIDENT’S PAGE BY E. LYNN GRAYSON What Matters Most: Diversity in Our Legal Profession

The Chicago Bar Association


President E. Lynn Grayson

to improve diversity, equity, and inclu- sion (DEI) in the legal profession. Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” As a legal profession, we certainly know the critical importance of DEI in law and its significance in improving access to justice. Even though we know better, the question remains, can we do better? How can we explain the lack of DEI progress in the legal profession? Some suggest that DEI may be inappropriately viewed as a social responsibility instead of as a business imperative. A McKinsey study recently found that diverse compa- nies are more likely to outperform their peers by up to 36%. Patricia Holmes, past CBA President and Managing Partner at Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP, will tell you that diverse and inclusive teams are better teams, and that better teams deliver better results for clients. The firm’s dedication to attracting, retaining, nurturing, and advancing lawyers from all groups and walks of life is a key to their success. Ben Wilson, founder of the Diverse Lawyers Network and the African Ameri- can Managing Partners and General Counsels Network and Beveridge and Diamond’s Chair, believes that it is impor- tant for lawyers to be intentional about diversity. He notes that “…it doesn’t matter if you’re in a leadership posi- tion: if you don’t make a difference, you don’t change the status quo.” Under his leadership, the AAMPGC has worked to successfully connect, retain, and promote attorneys of color in the legal profession.

First Vice President Timothy S. Tomasik

Second Vice President Ray J. Koenig III

Secretary Kathryn Carso Liss Treasurer John C. Sciaccotta

Immediate Past President Maryam Ahmad

T he legal profession is less diverse than other professions. Despite years of effort and commitments to make the legal community more inclusive, 82% of lawyers are White, compared to 81% of architects and engineers, 78% of accountants, and 72% of physicians and surgeons. Furthermore, 62% of lawyers are male, less than 19% of equity partners in law firms are women, and only 6.6% are racial or ethnic minorities. Writing for the Washington Post earlier this year, Stanford University law professor Debo- rah Rhode confirmed that Blacks, Latinos, Asian-Americans and Native Americans make up a fifth of law school graduates, but they constitute fewer than 7% of law firm partners and 9% of general coun- sels of large corporations. The problem extends to women, who make up more than a third of the profession but only about a fifth of law firm partners, general counsels of Fortune 500 corporations, and law school deans. Now more than ever, the legal com- munity needs to act not only to address racial inequality in our communities but

Executive Director Elizabeth A. McMeen

BOARD OF MANAGERS Michael Alkaraki

Hon. Charles S. Beach II Alexis Crawford Douglas Octavio Duran Robert W. Fioretti Malcolm “Skip” Harsch Risa R. Lanier Patricia L. McCarthy Hon. James M. McGing Hon. Clare Elizabeth McWilliams Juan Morado, Jr.

Brandon Peck Ashley Rafael Antonio M. Romanucci

Hon. Maria Valdez Sandra S. Yamate

6 January/February 2022

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