Legal teams lack in diversity despite benefits, survey finds

by Samantha Woodhill01 Jun 2016
Law firms with diverse teams benefit from a 25% higher share of in-house spend than non-diverse teams, according to new data released by Acritas.

Diverse in-house legal teams benefit from improved efficiency, improved overall performance and better relationships.

Yet only 25% of all legal teams, in firms and in-house globally are diverse, according to Acritas.
Lisa Annese, CEO, Diversity Council Australia, said creating a diverse team can be challenging because of human tendency to recruit likeness, and greater risk of disagreement and constructive conflict, acting as major barriers to diversity in the workforce.

“It’s worth it though as the research is very clear that diverse teams deliver more creative, innovative and accurate problem solving,” she said.

“Diverse workplaces can deliver improved productivity and profitability, greater creativity and innovation, improved employee wellbeing and engagement and reduced employee turnover, to name just a few.”

But diversity must be accompanied by inclusion in order to reap all the benefits, Annese said.  A business seeking out and genuinely valuing the advantages of diversity will benefit more.

“Whether or not you have an inclusive environment is a key success factor for diverse teams,” she said.

“Inclusive leadership is associated with greater team engagement, while individuals working in more inclusive team climates report higher levels of commitment and satisfaction, and demonstrate access to better job opportunities and career advancement.

“Moreover, in inclusive teams, employees are better able to resolve conflict and be more satisfied as a result of having worked through the conflict effectively.

“If you can’t create an inclusive environment for a diverse team, you are going to struggle to get the most out of it.”