Dialogue over diversity gets a boost as legal departments investing in sole minority and women firms grows.
The legal departments of 31 companies have spent a total of $1.6 billion with minority- and women-owned law firms since 2010 as part of an initiative administered by the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF).
In 2018, 31 corporate legal departments spent $240m with firms owned by minority and women leaders. The success rate is part of an initiative administered by NAMWOLF. The corporate legal departments among the cohort are Google, 3M, Bank of America and Target, among others. This year, Walgreens and Honda also signed on to the initiative, bringing the total of participating clients to 33. Ann Kappler, senior vice president and deputy general counsel of initiative co-founder Prudential Financial, stated “The Inclusion Initiative makes a meaningful, positive impact on the legal profession by encouraging members to make tangible commitments to hiring diverse firms, helping them to thrive in the market.”
The initiative began in 2010 with 42 participating minority- and women-owned law firms and 11 companies. The program’s growth and legal spend demonstrate the growing power of clients as corporations look to influence the diversity of their outside counsel by targeting their bottom lines. At the beginning this year, an open letter signed by over 200 general counsel demanding more diverse legal representation has since sparked more dialogue over diversity. NAMWOLF board member William Delgado stated, “NAMWOLF is excited about its continued collaboration with the Inclusion Initiative for years to come.”