Axiom Releases Annual Diversity Report
Axiom introduces ”Diversity by Design” — A Programmatic Framework for Addressing Systematic Inequities and Spearheading Industry Change
New York, October 7, 2020 – Axiom, the global leader in high-caliber, on-demand legal talent, today released its 2020 Diversity Report, which reaffirms the company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This year’s report revealed that Axiom’s lawyer bench continues to be more diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender than industry standards. The report further acknowledges Axiom’s commitment to diversity among its broader corporate employee and executive populations, recognizing it as a critical mandate for performance, problem-solving, innovation, transformation, productivity, and resilience.
Critically, this year’s report introduces Diversity by Design, Axiom’s programmatic framework for addressing systemic representation, retention, and advancement inequities. Diversity by Design represents both a core internal objective and a more far-reaching goal to amplify change throughout the legal ecosystem.
“By most measures, Axiom is considered a model of diversity,” said Catherine Kemnitz, Chief Legal Officer and member of the Executive Leadership Team, Axiom. “But being better than an unacceptably low bar doesn’t feel like something to celebrate. Twenty years ago, we recognized that the legal industry paradigm was broken and set out to replace it. Twenty years later, it’s time to admit something else is broken. It’s time to acknowledge the inadequacy of corporate diversity – even among those organizations we celebrate as its leaders – and the inability of traditional diversity programs to drive meaningful change. The Diversity by Design program we have started to build represents an important step toward creating that change and sustaining its progress.”
Key Report Statistics:
As the report indicates, Diversity by Design is rooted in an initial benchmarking analysis that identifies Axiom’s diversity relative to both industry peers and the broader business universe.
Axiom lawyers have significantly greater gender diversity than all lawyers and lawyers at law firms, including Big Law. Lawyers who identify as women represent:
- 52% of Axiom lawyers
- 37% of all US lawyers1
- 36% of lawyers at all US law firms2
- 37% of lawyers at the largest 350 law firms3
Axiom’s percentage of corporate employees who identify as women is also substantially higher than most organizations, including many companies that have received ”Best Places to Work” recognitions. Employees who identify as women represent:
- 57% of Axiom’s corporate employees (and 37% of Axiom’s senior executives)
- 46% of the US workforce4 (and 29% of senior managers/executives across that workforce4)
Axiom lawyers are significantly more racially and ethnically diverse than the total population of lawyers and lawyers at law firms, including Big Law. Lawyers who identify as racial/ethnic minorities represent:
- 29% of Axiom lawyers
- 14% of all US lawyers1
- 17% of lawyers at all US law firms2
- 18% of lawyers at the largest 250 law firms5
Beyond lawyers, the percentage of Axiom corporate employees/executives who identify as minorities is on par with broader business statistics, but not quite equal to notable diversity leaders. Employees who are racially/ethnically diverse represent:
- 20% of Axiom corporate employees (and 19% of Axiom’s senior executives)
- 22% of the US workforce6 (and 19% of senior managers/executives across that workforce4)
“This data, while informative, does not tell the full story of minority retention and advancement,” said LaMonte McGraw, Global Head of IT and member of the Executive Leadership Team, Axiom. “It doesn’t tell the almost universal story of diversity’s decline up the leadership ladder. To understand that story, to identify the root of those issues, we need to uncover more insightful statistics, like data on seniority, tenure, and pay/equity. And, we must be specific – rejecting ‘diversity soup’ by resisting the temptation to treat diversity as though there’s a one-size-fits-all approach for every underrepresented group.”
Diversity by Design:
Diversity by Design is a meaningful step toward conducting more insightful data dives, reviewing each step of Axiom’s processes, finding the hidden hurdles and biases, and addressing them. The goal is to rewire the company – embedding diversity within Axiom’s operating model, business practices, and, ambitiously, the broader legal industry.
As a first step in that approach, Axiom will prioritize the increased retention, recruitment, and advancement of Black professionals. Black lawyers represent 12% of Axiom lawyers (compared to 5% of all US lawyers1). This prioritization is an acknowledgement that Black professionals have been acutely underrepresented in the law and marginalized in business, and an admission that Axiom has not yet done enough to advocate for the Black community.
Over the next year, Axiom’s Diversity by Design model will also meaningfully invest in examining what ”good” looks like – identifying the right peer groups to measure against (within the legal industry and outside of it) and understanding how to assess progress beyond typical diversity yardsticks.
“We believe diversity efforts don’t add up, they compound,” said David McVeigh, CEO, Axiom. “Diversity by Design is an approach that is fundamentally internal to Axiom, but also one that we hope projects externally, amplifying the efforts of our clients and other leading organizations who are breaking down their processes and rewiring their operations. It’s a meaningful step toward overdue, enduring change – one we will continue to build, ruthlessly assess, improve upon, measure, and report against.”
Axiom, the global leader in high-caliber, on-demand legal talent, is innovating the way legal teams and lawyers work. Axiom enables clients to access over 2,400 talented lawyers through a curated platform and build more dynamic teams to drive better business outcomes. Axiom empowers lawyers across industries and practice areas to thrive while pursuing more of the work they love. The company is deeply committed to gender equality and diversity and prides itself on having one of the most diverse employee populations in the industry. Axiom works with over half of the Fortune 100 companies, and currently operates in North America, the U.K., Continental Europe, and Asia Pacific. www.axiomlaw.com
1 ABA Profile of the Legal Profession 2020
2 NALP 2019 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms
3 NLJ: The Women in Law Scorecard 2020
4 Catalyst Women in the Workforce – Global: Quick Take/The World Bank Databank 2019
5 ALM: 2020 Diversity Scorecard (AmLaw200 and NLJ250)
6 US Bureau of Labor Statistics Reports (1082)