Do Your Clients Know About Your DEI Efforts?

July 19, 2021

Earlier this spring, BTI Consulting reported that “82% of top legal decision makers say they know virtually nothing about their law firms’ DEI strategies and actions.” How can that be possible, you might ask, when these same in-house legal departments view DEI as a top priority for their internal teams?

It’s not that buyers of legal services are disinterested in what firms are doing. It’s that, in the absence of information on their outside law firm’s initiatives and programs, GCs assume those firms aren’t doing much of anything. And that may be a catalyst for clients taking unilateral action to impose standards and metrics on their outside firms.

This can be a frustrating experience for firms that actually are engaged with this challenging work. So what can outside providers of legal services do? Take a proactive approach, using all available channels, to educate your clients and prospects about your efforts. Here are just a few ways you might do this:

  • Push out a quarterly newsletter or client blast solely dedicated to updates on DEI initiatives

  • Feature a Q&A with your chief diversity officer in your firm newsletter

  • Capture stories in informal videos with some of your diverse partners on your LinkedIn or Instagram page

  • Regularly update your website content to feature current DEI projects

  • Prepare your key relationship partners with talking points so they can speak knowledgeably with clients about the initiatives

Firms can be understandably cautious about promoting the work they are doing to increase diversity, equity and inclusion. Obviously, it’s important to handle this content with care and be thoughtful about timing, juxtaposition of content on your social feeds or website, and the unique needs and expectations of your specific clients. But don’t let your caution translate into paralysis. There is no one right way to educate your clients about your DEI work. Instead, making sure clients know the specific ways your firm has committed to driving change must be an ongoing priority for your marketing and communications team.