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Fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in global legal departments

07 December 2023
Three key themes from DWF's attendance of the Black In-House Counsel Network’s Roadmap to Inclusion workshops.
Over the last few months the Legal Operations team at DWF partnered with Chief Legal Executive Black In-house Counsel Network to sponsor the Roadmap to Inclusion workshops. With these events, our team had the opportunity to speak with many attendees from corporate legal teams and law firms, and returned with several key takeaways from each city.

What are the Roadmap to Inclusion workshops?

These workshops are a continuation of the hard work started by the Black In-house Counsel Network’ Roadmap to Inclusion report, released last summer. This crucial document provided a state-of-the-nation for DEI in corporate legal teams, featuring quantitative and qualitative assessments for diversity, equity and inclusion across the United States. It relayed how much progress had been made but how far some teams still needed to go to create environments where their entire team felt valued and included. Read more about the report >

These workshops, taking place in Atlanta, Minneapolis, New York and Chicago, took the results of this report and put them back onto the table. Representatives from corporate in-house legal teams, law firms and other partners participated in candid, guided discussions about the current state of DE&I in the legal world and what to keep an eye on moving forward.

What were some of the key themes?

Since the US Supreme Court's decision to strike down Affirmative Action in higher education, organizations have been taking a fresh look at DE&I initiatives, ranging from reviewing policies, to analyzing their legal risk and refreshing overall strategies. While there are several other cases working their way through the judiciary system which will further impact corporate DE&I policies, there is still an appetite amongst individuals in legal departments and organizations as a whole to create inclusive environments.

How can organizations work to create environments that are diverse, equitable and inclusive?

With candid conversations from a myriad of perspectives, some of the best practices for organizations looking to improve their working environments for everybody included:


The best organizations regarding DE&I have a level of intentionality behind their actions. This includes prioritizing policies, including these initiatives in high-level branding and instilling these values into every part of the business. When creating good environments for everyone runs through the veins of the organization, it trickles down into providing results.


Much like metrics and other reviews dominate performance in other parts of the business, the success of DE&I initiatives should be tied to stated goals and reviewed on a set basis with consequences or adjustments for nonperformance. While the Supreme Court decision has affected some of the goals and metrics organizations are able to strive for, qualitative interviews and workplace assessments can provide a benchmark for inclusivity. 

DE&I continues to evolve and change, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted how workplaces operate permanently. As businesses must be agile to keep up with the external market, finding new ways to make people feel welcome and valued is essential. Whether through intentional mentoring, refreshing the way community groups operate or responding to the latest assessments, it takes a creative approach to change stagnant organizations. 

Our role

DWF is a proud sponsor of the Roadmap to Inclusion Workshops and would like to thank the Black In-House Counsel Network for the opportunity to be a part of important conversations and initiatives. We are committed to furthering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion both in the markets we operate in, as well as within our global organization.

Read more about our DE&I policies, goals and values >