"Do You Have Any Openly Religious Attorneys?,"

asks a Stanford Law school "Addendum to NALP Workplace Environment Questionnaire." On the one hand, it's good that they are treating "diversity" as more than a code word for race. On the other hand, how would someone who is sincerely trying to answer this figure it out? Is a lawyer "openly religious" only if he wears religious garb or jewelry? Only if he publicly talks to people about his religious? And even if there are openly religious attorneys, what does that tell us about the firm's openness to lawyers of other religions?

One more, "For social events to which spouses, domestic partners, or guests are invited, are invitations clearly extended to the partners or guests of gay and lesbian attorneys?" I appreciate that gay and lesbian lawyers might in some firms feel uncomfortable bringing their same-sex spouses, partners, boyfriends, or girlfriends, and that this might cast something of a pall on the work environment for them. But are law firms really expected to formally write on all their invitations, "partners and guests of gay and lesbian attorneys welcome"? My guess is that the firms at which gays and lesbians are most accepted are precisely the ones who don't feel the need to mention sexual orientation on their invitations, and simply tell everyone that they should feel free to bring a guest.

I sympathize with people's concerns about whether a firm culture is open to people of various religions, to gays, and to other minority groups. And I also understand that when one is trying to gather and disseminate data on a large scale, the result will often look oddly bureaucratized. But some of these attempts to gather the data -- and, implicitly, to convey to employers how they are supposed to behave -- seem to me likely to be so imprecise as to be useless, and sometimes even counterproductive.