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James Chosy, executive vice president and general counsel of U.S. Bancorp, is a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. (File photo)

Bar Buzz: Stepping up diversity initiatives

Minnesota is well represented in a new project from the Diversity Lab called The Move the Needle Fund, a collaborative effort designed to test innovative initiatives to create a more diverse and inclusive legal profession.

Stoel Rives, which has an office in Minneapolis, is one of five founding law firms who have pledged to invest more than $5M over five years to set aggressive, public firm-specific diversity goals; experiment with innovative, research-based methods to achieve them; measure the outcomes; and share the results — including the successes and failures — with each other and the community.

According to the Move the Needle Fund website, Stoel Rives will leverage research-based methods to better understand the reasons for the higher attrition rates among diverse lawyers; and experiment with new initiatives to better retain and advance all lawyers — with a special focus on historically underrepresented lawyers.

The firm will work with founding general counsel from a number of organizations including Ivan Fong at 3M, James Chosy at U.S. Bancorp and Scott Wilensky at Xcel Energy. Chosy is also a member of the Board of Advisors.

The challenge is formidable. Move the Needle reports that data shows that at the current rate of progress, the 200 largest law firms in the country won’t mirror law school diversity percentages for women and racial minorities in equity partnerships until 2075 and 2084, respectively.

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