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A list of nine diversity tools for an in-house legal department (GE)

The former general counsel of GE, Ben Heineman says that “More than 60 percent of the [about 1,100] GE lawyers are diverse and/or non-US professionals. Thirty percent of our senior lawyers are diverse.” In the same piece, Corp. Counsel, Vol. 13, April 2006 at 89, readers learn that 40 percent of GE’s lawyers are licensed and practice outside the US.

Those diversity levels sound impressive, but I do not think of being “non-US” as a diversity category in the same way as being African American, female, Asian, gay, or Hispanic. If a white male lawyer in Spain counts toward US diversity, our general understanding of the term needs redefinition (See my post of March 28, 2006 on unwillingness to define diversity in law departments.)

Heineman goes on to summarize GEs “diversity tools:” (1) inclusion on slates, (2) sensitive headhunters, (3) summer intern programs, (4) mentoring, (5) stretch assignments, (6) work-life flexibility, (7) rewarding leaders for diversity efforts, (8) good metrics, and (9) exit interviews (See my post of April 4, 2006 on GE’s diversity council.) Except for 1 and 8, these are all broader “people tools.”

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