Lewis and Mims Explain Importance of Data in Diversity Efforts

Shook Partners John Lewis, Jr., and Buffy Mims have authored “Data Must Drive Diversity to Make a Meaningful Impact,” explaining why data should underpin diversity efforts. “The entirety of our professional and personal lives is informed by data and related analytics,” they explain. “Nothing can be objectively assessed without data. A good feeling or sense of progress, while important, is not a substitute for a measurable sense of return on investment, whether time or resources. And so it is that our work to achieve progress in diversity and inclusion in our profession must move beyond sentiment and best efforts to measurable progress and accountability.”

The article, which appears in the Association of Corporate Counsel's Colorado newsletter, emphasizes that diversity and inclusion initiatives can and should be tracked to measure success. “[R]acial and ethnic minorities (all minority groups combined) at the Big Law partnership level remain largely stagnant at less than 10%. Worse yet, the numbers for specific racial and gender groups paint an even bleaker picture. Most alarming is the predicament of Black female Big Law partners, who barely register a single percentage point after decades of focus by the profession and many seemingly well-intentioned firms. In a 2016 piece, the ABA reported that minority women are literally 'disappearing' from Big Law. What have we been missing?”

“Perhaps what we have been missing is consideration of the role that data analytics and a renewed focus on the return on investment of our profession’s D&I efforts plays in achieving sustainable progress. Maybe our current investments, while beneficial at some level, don’t translate to real, measurable and sustained progress.”