Axiom Releases Annual Diversity Report

Introduces ”Diversity by Design” — A Programmatic Framework for Addressing Systematic Inequities and Spearheading Industry Change

Axiom, the global leader in high-caliber, on-demand legal talent, today released its 2020 Diversity Report, which reaffirms the company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This year’s report revealed that Axiom’s lawyer bench continues to be more diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender than industry standards. The report further acknowledges Axiom’s commitment to diversity among its broader corporate employee and executive populations, recognizing it as a critical mandate for performance, problem-solving, innovation, transformation, productivity, and resilience.

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Critically, this year’s report introduces Diversity by Design, Axiom’s programmatic framework for addressing systemic representation, retention, and advancement inequities. Diversity by Design represents both a core internal objective and a more far-reaching goal to amplify change throughout the legal ecosystem.

“By most measures, Axiom is considered a model of diversity,” said Catherine Kemnitz, Global Head of Legal and member of the Executive Leadership Team, Axiom. “But being better than an unacceptably low bar doesn’t feel like something to celebrate. Twenty years ago, we recognized that the legal industry paradigm was broken and set out to replace it. Twenty years later, it’s time to admit something else is broken. It’s time to acknowledge the inadequacy of corporate diversity – even among those organizations we celebrate as its leaders – and the inability of traditional diversity programs to drive meaningful change. The Diversity by Design program we have started to build represents an important step toward creating that change and sustaining its progress.”

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Key Report Statistics:

As the report indicates, Diversity by Design is rooted in an initial benchmarking analysis that identifies Axiom’s diversity relative to both industry peers and the broader business universe.


Axiom lawyers have significantly greater gender diversity than all lawyers and lawyers at law firms, including Big Law. Lawyers who identify as women represent:     

  • 52% of Axiom lawyers
  • 37% of all US lawyers¹
  • 36% of lawyers at all US law firms²
  • 37% of lawyers at the largest 350 law firms³

Axiom’s percentage of corporate employees who identify as women is also substantially higher than most organizations, including many companies that have received ”Best Places to Work” recognitions. Employees who identify as women represent:

  • 57% of Axiom’s corporate employees (and 37% of Axiom’s senior executives)
  • 46% of the US workforce⁴ (and 29% of senior managers/executives across that workforce⁴)

Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Axiom lawyers are significantly more racially and ethnically diverse than the total population of lawyers and lawyers at law firms, including Big Law. Lawyers who identify as racial/ethnic minorities represent:

  • 29% of Axiom lawyers
  • 14% of all US lawyers¹
  • 17% of lawyers at all US law firms²
  • 18% of lawyers at the largest 250 law firms⁵

Beyond lawyers, the percentage of Axiom corporate employees/executives who identify as minorities is on par with broader business statistics, but not quite equal to notable diversity leaders. Employees who are racially/ethnically diverse represent:

  • 20% of Axiom corporate employees (and 19% of Axiom’s senior executives)
  • 22% of the US workforce⁶ (and 19% of senior managers/executives across that workforce⁴)

“This data, while informative, does not tell the full story of minority retention and advancement,” said LaMonte McGraw, Global Head of IT and member of the Executive Leadership Team, Axiom. “It doesn’t tell the almost universal story of diversity’s decline up the leadership ladder. To understand that story, to identify the root of those issues, we need to uncover more insightful statistics, like data on seniority, tenure, and pay/equity. And, we must be specific – rejecting ‘diversity soup’ by resisting the temptation to treat diversity as though there’s a one-size-fits-all approach for every underrepresented group.”

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