In their latest dollars-for-diversity initiative, nearly a dozen major corporations—including Accenture, American Airlines, Comcast, DuPont, Exelon, General Mills, GlaxoSmithKline, Microsoft and Prudential—have pledged to spend $30 million this year on the services of minority- and women-owned law firms.
Diversity has long been an important factor for many in-house counsel when choosing outside law firms. The Vault/MCCA Law Firm Diversity Database was developed in large part to provide corporate law departments with a standardized tool to assess the diversity initiatives and metrics at the nation’s largest law firms. Increasing pressure from clients has resulted in greater transparency from firms. In 2004, when the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and Vault distributed the first edition of the survey, 75 percent of the top 200 law firms agreed to report their diversity data. By 2009, 89 percent were participants. In addition, more than 120 small and midsized firms have taken part.
The Diversity Database, which currently includes survey results for nearly 300 law firms, has proved to be a valuable resource not only for in-house counsel, but also for law students and job seekers interested in evaluating how well firms’ initiatives suit their own career objectives. We encourage readers to check it out. Access is free; you just have to register. (And stay tuned for the latest data from 2009’s annus horribilis which will be added to the database this summer.)
- posted by vera
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