The American Bar Association has recently passed Resolution 113 “which calls on clients to direct a greater percentage of the legal services they purchase to diverse attorneys.” Many within the business community have already pledged to uphold the resolution, including McDonald’s, CBS Corporation, and Verizon.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time such a pledge has been made. According to the Above the Law article “In 1999, the Chief Legal Officers of about 500 major corporations signed a document entitled Diversity in the Workplace – A Statement of Principle. In particular, it was intended to be a mandate for law firms to make immediate and sustained improvement in this area. Unfortunately, however, all objective assessments show that the collective efforts and gain of law firms in diversity have reached a disappointing plateau.”
The resolution passed this time around does seem to have more teeth in its writing, going into specifics on what is required. For example, a Model Diversity Survey will be implemented to “enable [them] to measure the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion in the legal teams that they engage.” Ultimately, it will be up to the General Counsels and companies to track and increase diversity in their legal representation. Only time will tell if this is the spark that truly ignites change, but it does look promising.