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Kim McKelvey and Ed Marquette Author Article in 2019-2020 IILP Review

News - Inclusiveness and Diversity | September 23, 2019

The Institute of Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP) has published its 2019-2020 IILP Review, which includes an article authored by Kutak Rock‘s Ed Marquette (Partner, Intellectual Property) and Kim McKelvey (Director of Strategic Focus and Inclusiveness and Diversity) and Frandzel attorney Patricia Kinaga (Employment Law Litigation).

Titled “Sweet Harmony: Substantive Diversity, Disability Rights, Millennials, and the Shape of Tomorrow’s Inclusiveness,” their piece delves into the shortcomings of current models for inclusiveness and diversity in the workplace as Millennials become the predominant generation and outlines the contours of potentially more effective future models. They discuss how present inclusiveness programs, with their philosophical dependence on the Civil Rights Movement’s focus on statistical representation of socially constructed categories and moral implications, tend not to resonate with Millennials as much as do the philosophical underpinnings of the Disability Rights Movement, with its focus on diverse teams whose members are valued for their substantive contributions.

Inclusiveness programs with appeals to do the right thing and with goals of satisfying representational targets, the authors posit, will need to move over for organizational structures based on teams consisting of diverse participants, where diversity is defined far more broadly than the traditional socially constructed categories and where diverse input is sought for its perceived inherent value. Such a shift, however, will have its own particular challenges, including the problem of measuring success when the members of the population refuses to identify themselves as fitting any of the historical categories, complaining that doing so is an indignity.

“If the research is right and if the Millennial mindset regarding inclusion really takes hold, then maybe we will finally see discrimination and prejudice just melt away,” said Mr. Marquette. “From what I’ve been seeing in the research, many in the Millennial age group just assume that inclusion and diversity is a good thing—not merely from a moral standpoint—but as something that is and ought to be because it produces a better result, a more rewarding result, and even a more economically beneficial result.”

Ms. McKelvey and Mr. Marquette have used their article as the basis for a two-part, firmwide diversity and inclusiveness training program for attorneys and staff at Kutak Rock. In addition, the article has been highlighted at a Symposium at Starbucks Headquarters in August and will be highlighted at a Symposium at Western Union Headquarters in October.

The IILP seeks to provide comprehensive outreach and original programming to replace barriers with bridges between legal, judicial, professional, educational and governmental institutions. It is made up of leaders and problem-solvers who are on the front lines of promoting equality and fairness in the legal profession. The entire 2019-2020 IILP Review is available on the IILP website.