Driving Diversity and Inclusion from the Inside Out

Here's a great write up chronicling Mastercard GC, Tim Murphy's work with the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF), where 20% of its panel are now certified diverse firms.

Their program goes beyond any minimum number, and includes specific onboarding, CLE and networking sessions for the Mastercard in-house team to get to know the NAMWOLF firms better.

Drawing on other examples of affirmative action, the article concludes with a list of 10 Things Corporate Law Departments Can Do to Promote Diversity Among Their Outside Counsel (although, there were only nine listed):

  1. Make sure your in-house legal staff gets to know the diverse firms and their capabilities and areas of practice.

  2. Pledge a significant percent (≥5 percent) of your outside legal spend with certified diverse suppliers.

  3. Develop standards for those of your outside firms who are not certified diverse for recruiting and retaining diverse talent, and for staffing your matters with that talent.

  4. Evaluate your outside firms on their commitment to recruit, retain, and staff your matters with diverse talent.

  5. Put your money where your mouth is — make sure the firms that don’t demonstrate that commitment understand that there will be consequences.

  6. Don’t make promises you don’t keep: if a firm doesn’t demonstrate the commitment, implement the consequences.

  7. Hold your in-house staff to the same commitments relative to working with certified diverse firms and recruiting and retaining diverse talent.

  8. [for US] Sign on to ABA Resolution 113.

  9. [for US] Implement the ABA survey as a means of evaluating your outside firms along diversity lines.