Legal departments now have a simple, more accurate way to standardize and leverage diversity data and trend reports to influence law firm sourcing decisions.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. (April 14, 2022)—SimpleLegal, a subsidiary of Onit, today introduced Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Tracking and Reporting, an end-to-end solution for legal departments seeking metrics to support their outside law firms in reaching their shared diversity objectives.
DE&I Tracking and Reporting uses standardized diversity criteria, influenced by American Bar Association (ABA) values, to give legal departments data and trend reports on law firm diversity. Law firms can submit gender, race, disability, LGBTQ+ and veteran status, provided that their lawyers self-identify. The data is visualized in a SimpleLegal dashboard and viewed by vendor, practice area and vendor lead to yield better results for companies’ internal diversity objectives and track law firms progress toward a more equitable legal industry.
According to a 2020 ABA survey¹, women and minorities at U.S. law firms are underrepresented in leadership positions, receive lower compensation and are excluded or overlooked for promotional opportunities. The depiction of males and females at the Associate level is about even, but representation diverges at higher levels of the firm to favor males. For Non-equity Partners, the numbers split to 70% vs. 30% and for Equity Partners, the split is even greater at 80% vs. 20%. Additionally, the survey shows more White attorneys are promoted to Equity Partner than attorneys in other racial groups.
However, research from McKinsey² shows that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians, and diversity has a positive effect on creativity, innovation and decision-making in the workplace.
“Most timekeepers submit their diversity status using the survey model after their firm is retained, but low response rates and lack of accountability often results in sloppy data that can misrepresent a firm’s true makeup and hinder a legal department’s corporate diversity goals,” said Shri Iyer, Vice President of Products and Design for SimpleLegal. “SimpleLegal delivers clean timekeeper DE&I data submitted by law firm admins at the rate approval stage, so companies can easily push back, reiterate their diversity needs or withhold business if their expectations aren’t met.”
DE&I Tracking and Reporting is part of SimpleLegal’s powerful legal operations solution that combines e-Billing, matter management, vendor management, and reporting and analytics to support enterprise organizations evolving their legal departments to improve workflow processes, manage spend and drive better decisions.
The new feature is available to SimpleLegal customers at no additional cost. To understand DE&I trends at their law firms and vendors, and quickly see how diversity has changed over time, customers can turn on or off diversity data collection, compare up to 10 vendors side-byside, and filter the data by year or groups of years.
“DE&I Tracking and Reporting not only represents SimpleLegal but the entire Onit enterprise’s commitment to improving diversity within the legal profession,” said Mark Weidick, President, Onit Commercial Business. “We all have a stake in creating equitable opportunities for lessprivileged populations, and Onit is doing this by helping some of the world’s largest companies track and enforce their strategic DE&I initiatives. With the data collected and the insights provided through reports, our customers can better partner with their law firms to bring about much-needed societal change.”
Learn more about DE&I Tracking and Reporting here.
SimpleLegal streamlines the way corporate legal departments manage their matters, track and interpret spend, and collaborate with vendors and law firms. As the first solution tailored for legal operations, SimpleLegal combines e-Billing and spend management, matter management, vendor management, and reporting and analytics into one comprehensive application to optimize and manage the entire legal department. The company, founded in 2013, is privately held and located in Mountain View, California. For more information, visit www.simplelegal.com.
- American Bar Association (ABA). (2020). 2020 ABA Model Diversity Survey. https:// www.americanbar.org/. Retrieved 2022, from https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/ administrative/racial_ethnic_diversity/aba/credp_2020_mds_report.pdf
- Hunt, V., Layton, D., & Prince, S. (2021, March 12). Why diversity matters. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved 2022, from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/people-andorganizational-performance/our-insights/why-diversity matters#:%7E:text=In%20the%20United%20States%2C%20there,(EBIT)%20rise%200.8%20percent