Friday, November 11, 2005

Diversity in the Legal Workplace

An article by Morgan Morrison in this month’s Texas Bar Journal argues that law firms have a self-interest in promoting diversity.  Morrison points out that in the last year, nearly 100 corporate legal officers have signed A Call to Action: Diversity in the Legal Profession, a document created by Sarah Lee General Counsel Roderick Palmore.  Signatories to this document pledge

that we will make decisions regarding which law firms represent our companies based in significant part on the diversity performance of the firms.  We intend to look for opportunities for firms we regularly use which positively distinguish themselves in this area.  We further intend to end or limit our relationships with firms whose performance consistently evidences a meaningful interest in being diverse.

A recent survey, sponsored by the Houston-based law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski, of more than 350 in-house counsel at large companies revealed that 40% of the companies consider diversity important in selecting outside counsel, 30% report having discussed diversity with outside firms, and 16% have written diversity policies to which outside counsel must adhere.

For the full text of Morrison’s article, see Embracing Diversity: Your Business Depends on It.

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