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Diversity in the Legal Profession: The Duty of Inclusion

(1609 reviews)

Produced on February 06, 2019

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$ 59 Ethics and Business, Corporate, & Securities Law In Stock
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Course Information

Time 61 minutes
Difficulty Beginner

Course Description

The current demographics of the legal world make it clear that merely avoiding discrimination in hiring practices is not sufficient to significantly change the face of the profession. As the world diversifies, the law is not keeping up, an issue which impacts the ability of attorneys to seek justice, and can negatively affect a law firm’s profitability. 

This program, taught by Robert Johnson, a partner in the Gordon & Rees, Scully & Mansukhani Commercial Litigation & Transactions practice groups and a frequent speaker on issues of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and other industries, will examine the state of diversity in the legal profession and address challenges related to greater inclusion in the legal field. The course seeks to engage legal practitioners on their ethical obligations to be more affirmatively inclusive and promote diversity within the profession.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review the current state of the legal profession compared to other industries
  2. Discuss the difference between the rule against discrimination and the duty of inclusion
  3. Apply proactive solutions to challenges of diversity

Credit Information

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Robert Johnson

Gordon & Rees

Robert Johnson is a partner in the Chicago office of Gordon & Rees and is a member of the Commercial Litigation & Transactions practice groups.

Mr. Johnson advises and provides legal and business management advice to organizations and individuals. He has over 25 years’ experience advising a wide range of entities on business and legal matters. As a complement to his legal and business experience, Mr. Johnson also regularly advises companies on issues addressing diversity and inclusion. He is an author and a frequent speaker on issues related to diversity and inclusion, personal branding and leadership. Mr. Johnson was also a featured co-author in a book with Stephen Covey and Brian Tracy called “Discover Your Inner Strengths”.

Mr. Johnson provides advice in the areas franchise law, franchise consulting franchise development, business brokerage, business start-ups, buying and selling businesses, social entrepreneurship, sports and entertainment, commercial litigation, products liability, and contract negotiations.

Mr. Johnson is also the principal of a social enterprise management-consulting firm and a full service business brokerage firm. Previously, he served as Franchise Relations Officer and Ombudsman for McDonald’s Corporation’s Central Division. He also served as a company liaison to the McDonald’s Black McDonald’s Owner Operators, the Hispanic Owner Operators, the Asian Owner Operators and the Women Owner Operator Associations.

Also while at McDonald’s, he was Managing Counsel, responsible for the creation, oversight and management of the Workers’ Compensation Program for all domestic corporate owned restaurants. Prior to this role, he had oversight over all customer related claims and litigation throughout the United States. Mr. Johnson also provided claims handling and crisis management advice for McDonald’s markets in Europe, Australia, Latin America, Canada and Asia.

Mr. Johnson was also a member of McDonald’s Diversity and Inclusion faculty. In this role, Mr. Johnson frequently traveled throughout the country to address diversity issues, instruct on minority career development and intercultural learning. Mr. Johnson also has particular expertise addressing issues related to diversity within the legal profession.

Mr. Johnson received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1993 and Bachelor of Science from Knox College in Illinois in 1990, graduating with dual majors in economics and sociology.

Mr. Johnson serves on the board of Legal Prep Charter Academy, a legal-themed charter high school that seeks to expose students from underrepresented groups to the practice of law.

Mr. Johnson is the recipient of the National Association of African American Insurance Association (NAAIA) 2018 Unity Globe Award, the National Black Lawyers Top 100 in 2017, the 2012 First Chair Award for Top Litigation Counsel, the 2009 Chicago United Business Leaders of Color Award, the 2009 Council on Legal Educational Opportunity Legacy Diversity Award, the 2009 Risk & Insurance Magazine Risk Innovator Award, the 2008 Council on Legal Education Opportunity Legacy Diversity Award, the 2006 National Eagle Leadership Institute and Career Focus Magazine Eagle Award, the McDonald’s Corporation 2003 Shining Light Award, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago 2002 Black & Hispanic Achiever Award, the Bloom Trail High School Hall of Fame for Distinguished Accomplishments in the Field of Law, and the University of Illinois College of Law (BLSA) 1995 James Seaberry Award.


Edward M.

repeated the same thing over and over again

Ben H.

Clear and precise...great speaker.

Nisha M.

I appreciated the personalized reflections that connected to my experiences as an attorney and policy professional of color. Rare to find this in CLE world. Also, thanks for the relevant data.

Danielle M.

Very informative statistics and prospective on the topic.

Dana T.

Great presenter!

Andrew W.

The speaker was easy to understand and illustrated his points with pertinent everyday examples and statistics.

Neil G. W.

Excellent and incisive presentation that explains the many benefits of diversity and inclusion.

Thomas B.

Good job of presenting the information and good use of examples from his own career & experiences.

Julie M.

The information provided in this course was interesting and informative.

Robert L.

Superb presentation on a vital topic for lawyers.


Good program

Diane E.

This was one of the best courses I have taken and should be a required course for everyone, especially during this time of diviseness and hateful discourse. As attorneys we have an ethical obligation and are in a position to educate and make positive change, but we need to get our own house in order first.

Leonard S.

Good points


Great speaker. Appreciate the 1st hand experience discussion.

david b.


Glen B.

Best presentation on Lawline! Awesome speaker. Great subject matter.

Michael P.

Very well done

Gwendolyn J.

Insightful and informative

Pamela R.

Well organized and informative

Amanda C.

Very informative. I’m so glad I took this course!

Patrick O.

Essential topic and nicely covered

Lisa S.

Insightful and articulate speaker

David H.

interesting legal / philosophical view point about diversity and inclusion.

Rajan P.


David T.

Wow! A macro approach to the diversity issues in the legal and other professions and how important diversity is to create a stronger workforce and satisfy client needs. The lecturer was impactful and really shed light on the issue. Great to see a different approach to addressing problems. He spoke with experience and knowledge. Thank you

Scott M.

Excellent speaker and material.

Benjamin S.

Thank you!

Wilber A.

Nice presentation.

Donald W.

very insightful.

Rolando M.

Course was exactly what I expected. Speaker very knowledgeable.

Subhana R.

Very informative. I did not realize how much diversity and inclusion affected the bottom line in company profits. I will expand my own business within this in mind. Thank you!

Rochelle L.

I wish this attorney's perspective were the driving force for our profession....

Patricia F.

The speaker was knowledgeable, thoughtful and informative.

Nancy P.

i like that he spoke from a place of his personal experience. put it into working everyday life.

Sheri S.

Great message! thank you!

Emily T.

This presenter was particularly effective and compelling.

Matthew H.


James D.

Very important topic

Bridget B.

Very informative and insightful.

john m.

great program!

Linda R.

Outstanding presenter and lecture.

Jonathan G.

This course really spoke out to me as a minority attorney. Great job.

Andrew P.


Peter A.

Excellent program on both the diversity and corresponding need for and benefits of inclusion making both the ethical, representation and business arguments.



Idalia M.

Really enjoyed this speaker. Thoughtful and well-versed.

C David L.

Course provided succinct and clear statement of the problem.

Randall V.

Highly important and informative program. Very well done. Bravo!

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