In 2017 more corporate legal departments enacted policy to push suppliers and partners to invest in diversity improvements.  According to the Big Law Business Diversity and Inclusion report, much has to be done to improve diversity and inclusion within workplaces, and it seems that these initiatives are the first step towards this.  A few examples of policy in legal departments to improve diversity numbers include the following:

  • In February, HP declared it would begin withholding up to 10 percent of invoiced fees from law firms that don’t meet certain diversity criteria,
  • In April, Facebook announced it would be requiring outside counsel to field teams with at least 33 percent women and ethnic minorities.
  • In April, MetLife General Counsel Ricardo Anzaldua sat down with 75 law firms to help them create a formal plan to retain and promote diverse talent or risk losing MetLife’s business.

In addition to corporations using their power to improve diversity efforts, organizations like the American Bar Association has implemented Resolution 113 which urges “law firms and corporations to expand and create opportunities for diverse attorneys, leading to the creation of a “model diversity survey” that clients can use to assess the diversity of outside counsel teams.”

The 2016 resolution has support from dozens of companies, including Adobe, HP, JP Morgan & Chase Co., McDonald’s, Microsoft, PepsiCo, and Prudential.

While diversity still needs to improve, the current policies are good ways to improve them.

Legal Departments Set a New Standard: Diversity & Inclusion in the Legal Industry