Lawrence James, Jr.



Lawrence is a partner at RHR International’s Chicago office and co-leader of diversity and inclusion (D&I). Defined by his innate curiosity and a deeply analytical mind, he is driven by his desire to create systemic change, enabling organizations to become more effective, inclusive, and diverse. He leads complex projects such as CEO succession in a way that is both highly considered and structured, resulting in strategically exceptional outcomes.

Working with Fortune 50 companies across energy and utilities, financial services, retail, and manufacturing, Lawrence is known for his action-oriented and risk-taking approach. He speaks truth to leaders, saying the things that many may observe, but aren’t willing to say, which helps push leaders to new levels of personal success and enables them to broaden their leadership skills. As a trusted advisor, he challenges C-suite executives’ preconceived notions, helping them to think strategically and form new perspectives about themselves, their business, and the people they lead.

Diversity and inclusion lies at the heart of Lawrence’s motivation. In over 11 years at the firm, he has personally worked to ensure that D&I concepts are woven into all of RHR’s services to promote equality for people of color, women, and all diverse groups in the workplace. His original research entitled “Journey to the Top: Developing African-American Executives” offers insights on best practices in African-American executive development. He has also delivered numerous speeches and talks on this topic and others to a wide variety of audiences, including McKinsey, Strategy& (former Booz & Co), and EEI.

Prior to joining RHR, Lawrence founded and ran his own psychological services business, LJALifeLessons. He conceptualized insight-driven practices and experimented with long-held norms to see if they were truly effective, such as the traditional therapy hour. This sparked his passion for leadership development work as he saw firsthand how many patients displayed work-related distress. Ultimately, he was inspired to move to RHR and make an impact straight at the source: improving workplaces and leadership around the world.

Outside of the workplace, Lawrence is endlessly fascinated by exploring and understanding new concepts and ideas, which feeds his love for travel. He also enjoys sports, specifically basketball and soccer, as well as spending time with his family and friends.

Lawrence received his BA in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a master of education in counseling psychology at Howard University, and a PhD in clinical psychology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is a licensed psychologist in the state of Illinois and is a member of several professional organizations including the American Psychological Association and the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi).