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Ed. note: In observance of the holiday, our office will be closed tomorrow and no blog will be published.

Today I borrow a few posts from on DEI topics. First, Dave Lynn writes about the SEC’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) fiscal year 2022 Annual Report to Congress:

“The press release announcing Annual Report notes the following highlights:

– The representation of minorities among Senior Officers (Senior Officers are equivalent to Senior Executive Service at other federal agencies) increased from FY 2021 to FY 2022;

– 37.6 percent of the SEC contract payments made in FY 2022 were to minority- and women-owned businesses;

– The SEC increased the number of paid internship programs from FY 2021 to FY 2022; and

– 35.9 percent of the workforce identify as minorities.”

Dave also offers his own personal thoughts about DEI at SEC when he worked there:

“When I started at the SEC way back in 1994, I was immediately struck by how much more of a diverse workplace it was as compared to the private sector companies where I had worked (I had a career as a financial analyst working for financial institutions while I was in law school). At the time, I probably chalked the differences up to working for the federal government versus working in the private sector. What I soon realized when I embarked on my career at the SEC was just how much of a difference a diverse workforce can make in terms of creating a successful, dynamic organization.”

Last week, John Jenkins wrote about a new Russell Reynolds report on hiring trends for Fortune 500 GCs which provides:

“… a number of interesting conclusions about the increasingly diverse makeup of CGs and how their roles are evolving. Here are some of the highlights:

– More women than men were appointed to the Fortune 500 general counsel role for the first time in history. 38% of appointed GCs were ethnically diverse for the first time in history. This was an increase of 12% over 2021, which was already a high water mark at 34% of appointments.

– Despite the impressive diversity headline, female legal executives below the GC level are less likely to get the opportunity to step into the top legal job compared to their male counterparts. 67% of male GCs are first timers in the role, vs. only 60% of female GCs and only 51% of ethnically diverse GCs. The report also suggests that female and ethnically diverse GCs need stronger educational credentials than their male counterparts in order to achieve their positions.

– The crisis environment under which many companies have operated in recent years has put a premium on experience. Only 56% of GCs appointed after the start of the pandemic (March 2020) are first-timers in the job, compared to 67% of those appointed pre-pandemic. Industry experience is also highly valued, although that preference varies among industries.”

Aspects these reports don’t touch on include pay equity for the diverse workforce and the workplace culture (although the Russell Reynolds report touches on certain parts of culture). It is nice to see progress being made, but there is still more work to do.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile