with collaborative company culture. Establishing this
model requires that legal department leaders ensure
that each attorney within the legal department:
■ ■ Is empowered to take initiative.
■ ■ Has his or her point of view valued.
■ ■ Receives information regarding a majority of the critical issues being handled by the legal department and
not just those issues that are within their particular
The absence of any one or more of these elements
within the culture of any legal department will stifle such
initiative and, in turn, reduce the effectiveness of its attorneys and the likelihood that they will remain to develop
and advance within the organization. However, where
each of these elements is applicable to all attorneys within
the organization (and not just those that have the closest
relationship with law department leaders) the likelihood
is that the effects of bias will be lessened significantly. In
such an environment, diverse and non-diverse attorneys
alike will feel valued and be valued by clients, and they
will take the initiative necessary to improve company
outcomes and develop and advance their careers within
the organization—a win-win scenario all effective legal
department leaders should desire.
Additional note: While not the focus of the discussion above, fostering initiative within your legal department is predicated on having high-quality attorneys
that have strong legal skills valued by your organization. Strong legal skills are the foundation upon which
any effective legal department is built. While an inclusive culture will certainly enhance the ability of your
legal department to attract and retain diverse talent,
the starting point is to have a core group of attorneys
that have the mix of legal skills needed by your organization. If your legal department lacks such a core, then
your key task as a leader is to engage in the hard work
of recruiting the right diverse group of personnel. Notably, the task of recruiting may be substantially more
effective if you are able to communicate to candidates
a strong vision for an inclusive work environment that
supports individual initiative and, in turn, diversity. ■
Editor’s Note: This article was created out of conversations following a session at MCCA’s Creating Pathways
to Diversity Conference titled “Speaking Your Client’s
Language: Being a Lawyer and Strategic Advisor.” For
details about the 2015 conference, please visit www.mcca.
BRUCE N. HAWTHORNE (bruce.hawthorne@
hii-co.com) is corporate vice president and chief
legal officer, Huntington Ingalls Industries. His
corporate career includes serving as executive VP,
GC and secretary, Electronic Data Systems;
executive VP and chief staff officer, Sprint
Corporation; and senior partner, King & Spalding.
Hawthorne holds a BBA, University of Michigan; an MBA, University
of Detroit; and a JD (Order of the Coif), Vanderbilt University.
EDWARD S. HARRISON (edward.s.harrison@
hii-co.com ) is senior counsel—lead corporate
transactions counsel, Huntington Ingalls Industries.
Prior to joining the HII team, he was a partner in the
corporate and securities practice of Baker &
McKenzie LLP in Chicago. Harrison holds a BA in
economics from Hampden-Sydney College and a
JD from Howard University School of Law.
The Model for Inclusion
Advisor Model Empowerment
Validation Point of View
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