Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Companies Use Diversity Data to Hold Law Firms Accountable - BLOOMBERG

by Stephanie Russell-Kraft
Originally published:  April 3, 2017
Publisher: Bloomberg.com 

Corporate diversity programs have come a long way since 1999, when Charles Morgan, then-GC of BellSouth Corp., led a group of his peers to sign a statement promising to consider law firm diversity when hiring their outside counsel. Today, legal departments aren’t just asking firms to field diverse groups of attorneys — they’re asking those firms to put attorneys in leadership positions, and they’re asking for data to back it up.

On Saturday, Facebook began requiring outside counsel to field teams with at least 33 percent women and ethnic minorities and show they are actively creating “clear and measurable leadership opportunities for women and minorities” in the company’s legal matters, the New York Times reported. 

The changes have coincided with corporate demands on in-house legal teams to track their spending with greater precision, indicating that the use of data to hold law firms accountable for diversity initiatives will only increase.