Big business plans to use more minority- and women-owned law firms

July 5, 2012
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If a commitment by large corporations across the country comes to fruition, law firms owned by minorities and women will see a lot more business this year.

Members of an Inclusion Initiative – which is administered by the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms – announced this month they want to increase the commitment they’ve made to hire outside law firms owned by minorities and women so that more than $139 million is spent in 2012.

There are 25 members of this initiative, which includes AT&T, Coca Cola, Microsoft, and Prudential.  

If the 25 companies meet their goal, the businesses will have spent more than $250 million with minority- and women-owned law firms in three years. The initiative was launched in 2010. It came about following studies that found a marked drop since the late 1980s in the number of minority-owned law firms serving corporate America.

The companies use their normal processes for selecting outside counsel but take additional measures to ensure that diverse law firms are among the pool of firms considered for the work and actively seek out minority- and women-owned firms, according to NAMWOLF’s website.

Prudential Senior Vice President and General Counsel Susan Blount said in a release, “Inclusion is a basic social justice issue. Women are 50 percent of law school graduates but they have a higher rate of attrition and failure to make partner than their male counterparts. The situation is even more profound for African-American and other minority attorneys.”

Even though NAMWOLF administers the initiative and works with the companies to identify best practices to maximize relationships with minority- and women-owned firms, the law firms the companies use do not have to be NAMWOLF firms.

Four firms in Indiana belong to NAMWOLF, including Indianapolis firms DeLaney & DeLaney LLC and Smith Fisher Maas & Howard P.C.
 

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  • Good for goose, good for gander
    What if a corporation stated that it was going to prefer white male lawyers, since they are more traditional?
  • sure, sure
    Nearly all publically traded corporations care nothing for social justice. This hiring of "more women and minorities" is window dressing. Instead of filling quotas - which is tantamount to paying a bribe to certain interest groups not to bother them-- they might consider what in their business practices actually promotes and advances, or retards, social justice. In some cases like the big zombie banks probably the only thing they could do to advance social justice would be to shut down their operations and go away, permanently.

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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