October 17, 2018

Diversification of law firms

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After running a diversity recruiting campaign, Facebook decided to focus on another related area, namely diversity in outside law firms that work for the company. In order to do so Facebook introduced a quota of 33% for women and ethnic minorities, requiring the law firms to ensure that at least 33% of their workforce consist of the two above-mentioned categories.

The goal is to create opportunities for women and ethnic minorities, and it is something that the companies are willing to accept.

In addition, US legislation is encouraging companies to diversify their internal and external teams in terms of ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability.

HP has been a part of this trend requiring outside law firms to have at least one attorney who is both a woman and racially or ethnically diverse working for at least 10% of HP billable hours, otherwise a ‘diversity hold’ that represents 10% of the fees is charged.

An increasing number of companies want to sponsor and encourage talent development in law firms. MetLife took the initiative to audit50 law firms to ensure that their current human resource practices are aligned with the talent support and development initiatives.  The idea comes from MetLife’s own culture of diversity and inclusion with the company’s workforce consisting of 60% women and visible minorities. Other initiatives were launched to foster diversity in law firms. A good example is the appointment of the Chief Legal Officer at Morgan Stanley who champions racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion.

Diversity becomes a defining criterion for hiring a law firm as well as a key value for law firms.