KYL continues to show its support for and progress towards diversity and inclusion in the legal industry. On Wednesday, October 23, 2019, Esther Cho was a guest speaker at the Women, Diversity & Change Summit in Los Angeles, CA. Esther’s panel topic was “Increasing Diversity at Law Firms and In-house: The Role We All Play.” The panel discussed how gender equity in the legal industry is still lagging as women are still earning 85% of men’s salaries and are underrepresented in senior roles. On average, less than 20% of the partners at a large law firm are women. Esther shared how KYL is proving to be a leader in the industry with women representing 38% of KYL’s shareholder partners. There is no question the legal industry is evolving and part of the change is driven by the increasing trend of in house counsel requiring more diverse lawyers performing work on their matters. In-house counsel is also holding firms accountable with respect to the attorneys actually working on matters and how those attorneys are compensated. Esther’s panel also discussed how there has been some backlash from in house counsel against law firms for including women or diverse attorneys in their pitch but failing to have those attorneys actually work the cases after the firm acquires the work. Other important topics discussed at the Summit included “Work-Life Integration,” “Dealing with Unconscious Bias and Discrimination,” and “Sponsors, Influencers & Career Engineering for Legal Counsel.” Overall, the Summit was a positive, engaging, and inspiring day filled with high-quality panel presentations and round-table discussions. It made it clear that while the legal industry has made progress in the area of diversity and inclusion, there is still room for improvement.
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