Don Liu moved from New York to Minnesota a few years ago, trading a job as general counsel at Xerox to become executive vice president and chief legal and risk officer at Target Corp. In the Twin Cities he’s known as a champion for diversity and inclusion.
“The legal community here is a much more vibrant than many lawyers outside of the Twin Cities might think,” he said. “In terms of Asian American lawyers, that community is growing and maturing here in the Twin Cities. I’m optimistic that it will become increasingly influential within the larger legal community in the years ahead.”
For two decades, Liu has done a great deal of pro bono work for the more than 50,000 members of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, as well as for its Minnesota chapter. He co-led the association’s “20×20 Initiative” that improved the number of Asian American general counsels in Fortune 500 companies from 14 in 2015 to 23 today. It followed up an earlier 10×10 initiative.
“Twenty by 20 was easier because having had the experience once before, we knew what we were doing,” he said. “We were able to engage more quickly with recruiting, mentoring, and having active conversations.”
Diversity and inclusion are important because they broaden how legal teams approach and solve problems. While Liu said the Twin Cities is attracting diverse talent, retention is “an area where we need to continue to focus.”