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Marlene Gebauer 0:06
Welcome to The Geek in Review. The podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer.
Greg Lambert 0:13
And I’m Greg Lambert. So, Marlene, I know that I for one am very excited with the World Series starting this week in our own hometown, Houston Astros are back in for the third time in five years. So I’m excited. But I know that again, we will be the villains this time. And so but you know, hey, I’m still gonna root for the home team.
Marlene Gebauer 0:34
You know, I’m so glad that we’re actually playing the Braves because I was really worried that the Dodgers were going to win their series and that it was going to be just all about the ugly. Yeah. And I’m hoping that we can kind of get past that and just let it be about the game.
Greg Lambert 0:50
Well, maybe someday, maybe someday. Not today. But eventually. So speaking of coming back to the plate, so we have Molly Huie, the team lead data analyst and surveys for Bloomberg Law back with us to get us up to date on the Bloomberg Law DEI framework.
Marlene Gebauer 1:12
So Molly, welcome back to The Geek in Review.
Molly Huie 1:15
Thank you so much. I’m really excited to be talking to you all,
Marlene Gebauer 1:18
We had you on back in the spring. So while we’d love for our listeners to go back and re-listen to episode 117, how about you give us a short recap of what Bloomberg Law is doing with the DEI framework?
Molly Huie 1:30
Sure thing our framework is, is a project that we set about a year and a half ago, to start standardizing law firm diversity metrics reporting. And we took it on because what we were hearing from clients and around the legal industry was that firms were employing one, two, sometimes three full time people just to fill out supplier diversity reports in their RFP process. And on the corporation side, they were giving out these surveys collecting all this data and then didn’t know what to do with it. So we decided to make a comprehensive questionnaire, we’d give it to law firms, we’d verify the results. And we’d come up with a list of firms that meet or exceed industry standards for DEI. And this hopefully will help streamline reporting for law firms, but also give in house counsel a place to start. So we don’t want to supplant their own research into what firm they want to use. But if if they’re looking for firms that would meet their own supplier diversity goals. Start
Greg Lambert 2:27
here, it’d be good to have some standards around the diversity surveys that come in. As again, I think I mentioned this before, but as the department that deals with our RFPs. I know that there there are a lot of them. And they all are slightly different. So it takes time and people hours to get those. So any anything you can do to standardize that is great. So Well, let’s talk about this year’s survey, which which was the inaugural survey, what kind of response rate did you have? And what kind of feedback are you getting on the survey itself?
Molly Huie 3:05
Well, in terms of response rate, we had over 30 firms participate this year, which is stellar for an inaugural year. I mean, it’s a really comprehensive and, you know, huge survey to fill out. So the fact that they took the time they did it they participated in the first year not knowing if it was going to take off or be a flop. So I’m really excited with the responses that we got. In terms of feedback on the survey itself. Most people were really impressed at how comprehensive it was because we asked not only the standard metrics, you know how many people do have that fit in each of these boxes, but also a lot of things about policies and procedures. So do they offer flex time and what kind of insurance and benefits and you know, general things they have in place to support people throughout their career. And we’ve found that’s really important in retention and promotion of diverse attorneys. So So we asked about it.
Greg Lambert 3:59
I know that this was the first year but how are firms actually doing?
Molly Huie 4:04
Well, the ones that we had in this year are doing quite well. And I think part of that is an artifact of the people that are going to be the early adopters generally think they’re doing well so they go ahead and do it. If the full report that we have this aggregated from all our data is available on our project site pro dot Bloomberg law.com/dei and you can see that most of the firms hover about industry averages in terms of what the American Bar Association or National Association of Law Placement and helps full industry data so pretty good I would say.
Greg Lambert 4:40
Generally this is we were talking before we started recording, it these are the Lake Wobegon firms where everyone is above average is that is it so interesting that you know again the firm seems to be doing well for the inaugural survey.
Marlene Gebauer 4:38
That leads me to ask, you know, where the questions asked the right ones. You know, on the last podcast, Greg noted that some of the questions revolved around data that firms might not be collecting. Did that actually happen?
Molly Huie 5:15
We did see some questions go unanswered. And but it wasn’t the same question across all firms. So what we did part of the scoring component is what we call a disclosure score. So firms basically just got points toward that portion of their score, if they answered the question at all. And most of them got, you know, 80 to 90% disclosure scores. So, you know, they lose out a little bit just for not answering something, but if they’re not collecting it, and disclosure, it makes up 10% of the total DEI score at the end. So just giving us that data gives them a little bit of a boost.
Greg Lambert 5:52
In what about, you know, have the firms or even the legal departments out there reacted to the results?
Molly Huie 6:00
So far, so good. The feedback that I’ve heard was that, you know, again, people were surprised and impressed that it was such a comprehensive survey. But also even the firms that I notified that didn’t make the listing this year, we’re thankful for the process and said, Hey, we’re looking forward to doing better next year. So I’m really hoping this catches on and picks up steam,
Greg Lambert 6:21
and you keep saying, comprehensive, I just want to think I remember there were like, over 80 questions. So right, yeah.
Molly Huie 6:31
85 metrics across 90 Something questions? Yeah,
Greg Lambert 6:34
quite a lot. I think we referred to it as a thick survey that last time.
Molly Huie 6:42
It’s a bit of a beast, and I can’t grab before we started recording, we were talking about how long it takes people to do this. And, it really depends on what other surveys they filled out before. And if folks have done ABS model diversity survey, we structured a lot of our demographic questions the same way. So a lot of firms already had those data cuts, and the rest of them are, are more, you know, check which policies you have. And it’s quite a bit easier once they get past that giant hurdle of how many people do you have that fit in each of these categories?
Greg Lambert 7:14
And, and getting into the survey itself? You know, what was the breakdown of who met the standard?
Molly Huie 7:23
So what we did in scoring was we looked for all the demographic categories, you know, the how many people do have that fit in these categories. We looked mostly at now state of the industry report. And we compared percentages across partners, associates, a council for various demographic groups, and we gave firms point if they exceeded the industry average. So you know, and that counted for 20% of their overall score. But then we looked at things like retention and promotion. And we compared, say, their promotional class for the year, the demographics of that class compared to the demographics of their overall associate class, and said, okay, are they promoting just the white males? Or is their promotion class, basically similar to their associate class, and that weighed more heavily into their score than the general demographics of their firm. So if you’re looking at people that met the standard, what they’re doing is they’re able to attract a more diverse associate class, and then promote accordingly, retain and promote accordingly?
Greg Lambert 8:29
What about on the flip side, were you seeing any kind of themes or commonalities on for those that may not have been above average, because again, in order to get to score, you had to be above average. And so any commonalities that you were seeing, for those that were, say, just average,
Molly Huie 8:47
you know, some of it was in lack of having various policies and procedures. And what I know is going to come back on us and this is that it’s much easier for bigger firms and bigger organizations to implement broader leave policies or or any of these things than it is for a really small firm. So that’s the kind of things we’re seeing if you didn’t quite make the list, then maybe you don’t have as many of those policies and procedures DEI favoring policies and procedures in
Greg Lambert 9:16
place. Yeah. But the people that were answer the firm’s that were answering it should be clued in on that for the next time around is that
Molly Huie 9:24
they will be if they listen to the episode.
Greg Lambert 9:29
Marlene Gebauer 9:30
Yeah. So like in our earlier episode, you know, you mentioned getting neurodiversity questions on the next survey. So has that happen?
Molly Huie 9:40
It’s on my list for inclusion next year. And I’m glad you brought that up. Because, you know, it’s something that I had added in the first draft. And then a couple people said, I don’t know if people are measuring this or we’re not quite sure what this is. So let’s take it out. And then I see a giant report come out and I’m not remembering who put a report out, but hey, look at neurodiversity in the legal industry. And somebody came back and said You should have kept a question in.
Marlene Gebauer 10:02
Yeah. Yeah, we’re actually interviewing a neurodiverse lawyer in a couple of days. So she’ll be talking about that. That’s great.
Greg Lambert 10:13
You know, when you talk to us in the spring, you mentioned that you want this framework to create a standard for clients to use for their evaluation of for outside counsel, you know, for the firms that who did contribute this time around, is this something now that they can show those show their clients on their DEI status?
Molly Huie 10:35
Absolutely. So firms that made the framework or calling the member firms, they received a press kit that they get our seal of approval, it’s it’s a black and teal seal that says Bloomberg Law D AI framework 2021. So they can put that on their website, on their social on their RFPs, we also gave every firm have a one-page snapshot. So whether or not they made the listing, they get the snapshot. And it shows their disclosure score, along with the six main pillar scores, like the different categories of the survey. And it showed what their score was for that section, along with the average for the section of all firms who submitted data. So they have that one-page report, and they are welcome to include that as part of an RFP process, we can also give everybody a PDF of the actual data they submitted. And they can turn that in as well. It’s their data, they’re welcome to use it however they like
Greg Lambert 11:30
is Bloomberg kind of leveraging its relationship with some of the larger clients out there to encourage them to use this rather than create a, you know, their own standards that they use.
Molly Huie 11:47
I’m not sure if they’re asking the other corporations to include other standards, what I know, we have worked with them that they pushed this out to the outside counsel that they work with and said, Hey, you work with Bloomberg LP as a client, we’d really like your participation in this. So they’re, they’re looking at using this listing as their own starting place when picking outside counsel.
Greg Lambert 12:11
Yeah, well, that you may have answered this. But let me let me let me just ask it point blank. Sure. When Bloomberg looks for outside counsel, are you going to use this hope so. May may have to twist some arms internally, as well as externally.
Marlene Gebauer 12:28
So what’s next on the horizon for the DEI framework and other be law surveys.
Molly Huie 12:34
So we’re hoping to get the 2022 version out a little bit earlier next year? You know, now that we’ve crossed the hump of releasing the list this year, my team’s gonna go back. And, you know, make any tweaks to the actual survey instrument re, you know, get the data collection, portal, the online data entry, ready for next year, and hopefully open it up in mid q1. And then, you know, this year, we gave firms about five months to gather all their data, because nobody had seen this survey yet. Now, it’s been out there in the world, we’ll give them a little less time close data collection in q2, and hopefully release the list in q3. Next year. As far as other BLS surveys, we have one more slated on our program this year, we are going to do something else I’ve never seen anybody do before and that survey, law students, faculty and early career associates all kind of together and look at how law school is preparing early career attorneys for practice.
Marlene Gebauer 13:31
Oh, that’s a good one. I hope so I’m really excited about it. It will be very interesting. We have so many people that we you know, we’ve talked to on the podcast about like, you know, how we can you know, what innovation that’s happening and law and law schools, and you know, how we can improve the training and law schools and the teaching and law schools. So that I think will be a very, very interesting one. Yeah,
Molly Huie 13:53
I’m hoping so we’re hoping to feel that kind of between the Thanksgiving and you’re on holidays.
Greg Lambert 13:59
So are there anyone? Are there any specific questions that you think definitely will get added in next year, and maybe even some that you might take out? I definitely
Molly Huie 14:13
want to add something for neurodiversity. Even if it’s as simple as Do you track this? You know, I’m not sure people are yet ready to fill in metrics of how many people they have that fall into that category, but just is it something they’re tracking? I would also love to really nail down a little bit more on origination credit. And that’s so hard to do at a firm level, but that’s what I’ve heard a lot of in house counsel wanting. They want to know both who’s staffing their projects, and you know, who’s getting the credit who’s getting paid? And so we have a couple of questions in there now that are a little bit of a proxy almost like, you know, if you’re doing these things, you’re probably on the right track, but it’s not close enough that we can really make that leap. So I would love to get to the point where we can say how are you doing this?
Greg Lambert 15:00
And one other thing that you mentioned in May, when you were here was that you want to track this over time. So as firms take the survey multiple times that you give them, kind of a tracking score, is that still on the agenda?
Molly Huie 15:16
Yes, I would love to build in a progress metric so that, you know, the firm’s that are already doing really, really well. They have a little room to improve. Sure. But the other firms that have giant leaps, they still need to take, I want to give them credit for that. We haven’t figured out quite how to do it yet. But we want to
Marlene Gebauer 15:31
do you also have any plans, you know, in terms of how to track how in house are actually using this, and you know, what benefit they got out of it, what decisions they made based on it?
Molly Huie 15:44
Well, I have a couple of people in various General Counsel’s Office that, you know, have been in my corner as we develop and score and all of these things. So I’ve been checking in with them. And hopefully, as this list is out, they’ll see some value in it this year, and hopefully, give a little feedback for how we can make it even more valuable to them in years to come.
Greg Lambert 16:04
Alright, well, Molly Huie from Bloomberg Law, I want to thank you for coming back to talk about the DEI framework and the results from the inaugural survey. Before we go, can you tell us everyone where we can find the results? And I’ll also make sure we put that on the show notes.
Molly Huie 16:22
Fantastic. You can go to our project website, it’s https://pro.bloomberglaw.com/DEI, everything there is free publicly available, you do not need a Bloomberg Law subscription to access any of that content.
Greg Lambert 16:36
Excellent. Well, thanks. Thanks again, Molly.
Marlene Gebauer 16:37
Molly Huie 16:38
thank you so much.
Greg Lambert 16:41
It was good having Molly come back in, it’s, you know, it’s nice to be able to close the loop on some of these things, especially when it’s when it’s a new survey out on the market. And I know, I’d asked her back in May, if this was just going to be another ranking system. And it’s not you’re either in or you’re not. And so I like I kind of like that a little better. Because this is an issue that, although you want to compete, you want to just show that you are doing well, in us. So it was it was great to having you back in.
Marlene Gebauer 17:15
Yeah, there’s a little sort of competitive pressure there, you know, to basically show Hey, you know, we’re doing well, and I like that we were able to have her back. And we’re sort of able to see where it’s going. Because, you know, oftentimes, you know, we interview a lot of people and they’re doing great stuff. And we always we don’t always have the opportunity to sort of follow up and say, okay, you know, where are they now? And it’s nice that we were able to do that. And that, you know, she’s basically looking at it the same way. She’s saying, Okay, we’re starting here, but we want to track this over time and see where it goes.
Greg Lambert 17:46
So well. It was good again to have Molly Huie from Bloomberg back on the show. And again, we’ll put a link in the show notes so that you can download the results of the survey.
Marlene Gebauer 17:57
So thanks to all of you for taking the time to listen to The Geek in Review podcast. If you enjoy the show, share it with a colleague. We’d love to hear from you. So reach out to us on social media. I can be found at @gebauerm on Twitter,
Greg Lambert 18:10
and I can be reached at @glambert on Twitter as well.
Marlene Gebauer 18:13
Or you can leave us a voicemail on The Geek in Review Hotline at 713-487-7270. And as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca. Thank you, Jerry.
Greg Lambert 18:24
Thanks, Jerry. All right, Marlene. And for those that couldn’t tell you’re on the road. So drive carefully.
Marlene Gebauer 18:31
We’ll see if anybody notices all right. Bye everybody.