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. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  2. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

  3. The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Far too many people are sentenced for far too many years in prison. Many of the federal prisoners are sentenced for marijuana violations. Marijuana is safer than alcohol.

  4. My daughter was married less than a week and her new hubbys picture was on tv for drugs and now I havent't seen my granddaughters since st patricks day. when my daughter left her marriage from her childrens Father she lived with me with my grand daughters and that was ok but I called her on the new hubby who is in jail and said didn't want this around my grandkids not unreasonable request and I get shut out for her mistake

  5. From the perspective of a practicing attorney, it sounds like this masters degree in law for non-attorneys will be useless to anyone who gets it. "However, Ted Waggoner, chair of the ISBA’s Legal Education Conclave, sees the potential for the degree program to actually help attorneys do their jobs better. He pointed to his practice at Peterson Waggoner & Perkins LLP in Rochester and how some clients ask their attorneys to do work, such as filling out insurance forms, that they could do themselves. Waggoner believes the individuals with the legal master’s degrees could do the routine, mundane business thus freeing the lawyers to do the substantive legal work." That is simply insulting to suggest that someone with a masters degree would work in a role that is subpar to even an administrative assistant. Even someone with just a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies would be overqualified to sit around helping clients fill out forms. Anyone who has a business background that they think would be enhanced by having a legal background will just go to law school, or get an MBA (which typically includes a business law class that gives a generic, broad overview of legal concepts). No business-savvy person would ever seriously consider this ridiculous master of law for non-lawyers degree. It reeks of desperation. The only people I see getting it are the ones who did not get into law school, who see the degree as something to add to their transcript in hopes of getting into a JD program down the road.

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