A Safe Space for Diversity: LMA’s 3 New Member Resource Groups

A Safe Space for Diversity: LMA’s 3 New Member Resource Groups

By David Ackert, Ashley Black, Rafeedah Keys
October 06, 2022 | 3-minute read
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Have you heard? LMA has launched three new Member Resource Groups (MRGs) through the efforts of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. The LGBTQ+ and Members of Color MRGs will serve as a safe space for diverse LMA members to come together to discuss issues they face on a daily basis, and the Allies MRG will give members a forum to learn more about supporting diverse individuals in the legal industry and their communities. Learn more about the DEI Committee’s initiative and the MRGs below. 

What prompted the MRG initiative?

One of the goals of the DEI Committee was to build new communities within the LMA member body. Given that there was already a DEI shared interest group (SIG) in place, where members could exchange information related to the DEI needs of their firms, we felt it was important to add support groups where underserved members could personally discuss issues related to their unique backgrounds and perspectives. 

How did the committee decide on which MRGs to launch this year?

The LMA member body was surveyed to ascertain interest in MRGs. Those who indicated interest were invited to participate in a roundtable session where the concept was discussed and tested. The three groups with the most interest were LGBTQ+, Members of Color (BIPOC), and Allies. All three MRGs launched in September and additional groups will be considered in future years as members indicate their willingness to participate. 

How were the facilitators chosen and trained?

The MRG facilitators were selected from the LMA volunteer pool. We looked for volunteers from different backgrounds and a variety of geographical locations within the LMA network. 

Each facilitator was required to attend a 90-minute training session that covered topics such as running a meeting, group guidelines and creating a safe place to share ideas. The DEI Committee hopes to offer additional training to facilitators in 2023 to continue the development of these volunteers. 

If you are interested in serving as a facilitator in the future, please reach out to the DEI Committee. 

What’s next for this initiative?

Ongoing engagement through and with MRGs is critical. They are important channels to provide insight into perspectives and backgrounds that create community and highlight experiences different from our own. In the year ahead, the DEI Committee will continue to poll the membership to measure how different groups experience our organizational culture. 

We will also engage MRG members to actively participate in key initiatives, such as contributing content for MRG newsletters, events related to special observance days and other community-building activities. After we host the first few MRG meetings in 2022, we hope you will consider deepening your involvement by sharing ideas you think will make the groups more impactful, and raise your hand to participate in ongoing initiatives.

David Ackert
Ackert Inc.

David Ackert, M.A., is president at Ackert and its subsidiaries. He is a thought leader at the intersection of business development coaching and technology. Over the past two decades, David has pioneered revenue acceleration programs for hundreds of professional services firms around the globe. He is the founder of several technology platforms including the PipelinePlus software suite. His programs are winners of Your Honor Awards in both the United States and Canada and have been featured in NLJ’s Technologies on the Rise. David regularly keynotes at partner retreats and speaks at industry conferences, and also serves as a guest lecturer at USC’s Marshall School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University and at the UCLA School of Law. He has a master's in psychology and is a fellow at the College of Law Practice Management.

Ashley Black
Porter Hedges LLP

Ashley Black is the diversity and inclusion manager for Porter Hedges LLP in Houston, Texas, and serves as the 2022 co-chair of LMA’s DEI Committee. She holds a B.S. from Clemson University, a M.S. from Florida State University, a diversity and inclusion certificate from Cornell University and has her Professional in Human Resources Certification. She currently resides in Gilbert, Arizona, with her husband, daughter and giant schnauzer.

Rafeedah Keys
Perkins Coie LLP

Rafeedah Keys is the head of privacy and tech practice marketing at Perkins Coie LLP and a member of LMA's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. She is a former co-chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Special Interest Group and was a member of LMA's inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. Rafeedah has an MBA from University of London focused on economic development and earned her B.A. from Pennsylvania State University. She also has several professional certificates, the most recent of which is an Executive Certification in Diversity Coaching from Coach Diversity Institute and Howard University.