The Black General Counsel Project by Bloomberg Law recently took a look at how top lawyers at Fortune 1000 companies, including New York Life’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel Natalie Lamarque, approach leadership and work to increase diversity in their legal departments and the outside counsel they hire.
In a wide ranging interview, Lamarque addresses key topics her team is focused on currently, the best leadership advice she’s received, advice for lawyers who want to go in-house, the insights she’d give to her younger self, and the opportunities and changes the pandemic has brought to her team.
“Over the last five to 10 years, executives across companies have been learning and better appreciating the importance of diversity, especially in C-suites. There is a growing realization that having more people of color in the room leads to more diverse viewpoints, innovation, and effective problem solving.” —Natalie Lamarque
On the factors contributing to the recent increase in the hiring of Black general counsel, Lamarque says, “Over the last five to 10 years, executives across companies have been learning and better appreciating the importance of diversity, especially in C-suites. There is a growing realization that having more people of color in the room leads to more diverse viewpoints, innovation, and effective problem solving.”
Discussing how diversity plays into her evaluation of outside counsel, she adds, “For the same reasons that C-suites are embracing diversity—the need for diverse viewpoints, creative problem solving, and overall equity—it is just as important that our outside counsel be focused on diversity. We are committed to hiring firms with a sustained and demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion and make it clear in our retainers that we give significant weight to a firm’s continued progress in this area. We advise that we may request copies of a firm’s diversity policies and information on their diversity statistics. We specifically support minority- and women-owned firms. For example, we have a longstanding relationship with a National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms-certified firm. As we strongly believe that increased diversity leads to better results, we use information about law firms’ diversity hiring and engagement as a distinguishing factor in our hiring.”
Read Bloomberg Law’s “The Black General Counsel Project: New York Life’s Natalie Lamarque” and find out more about Natalie Lamarque.
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