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Will law firm agreement to monitor and report race, gender, sex pref result in better client relations or employee action?

Orin Kerr's post on Thomas Adcock's report that the New York County Lawyers' Association has brokered a pact in which "more than 60 law firms have agreed to tell their corporate clients the composition of assigned legal teams by race, gender, ethnicity and sexual preference," has elicited a landslide of comments and questions from The Volokh Conspiracy's readers.

Adcock describes the arrangement in the New York Law Journal:

"Supporting the effort are some 65 bar organizations, including major groups such as the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the New York State Bar Association and small specialty bars such as the Nigerian Lawyers Association and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Law Association.

In-house counsels at more than 20 businesses were also signatories, including large corporations such as the Bank of New York, the Coca-Cola Co., Merrill Lynch & Co., Prudential Securities and TIAA-CREF.

For law firms, failure to adequately diversify legal teams assigned to client matters could mean the difference between retaining business or being dropped in favor of more socially progressive shops, according to speakers at a press conference announcing the pact this week. "

Volokh Conspiracy readers have posted a number of questions in response to this story that make me wonder whether employer's and employees' attorneys are watching this closely. Here's a representative sample of their questions:

David Bernstein opens with this question: "Aren't any of these attorneys concerned with the fact that employment quotas, well-intentioned or not, are clearly illegal?"

Anon asks, "I wonder what would happen if a client deci[d]ed they wanted minority, female or gay hours to be zero?"

Jim Rhoads asks, "This presents some interesting law school exam questions in the advanced Employment Law Seminar. What if the employee never reveals his/her sexual preference? What if the employee reveals only part of his/her preference? What if the employee doesn't want his/her sexual preference revealed? Does a "switch hitter" get extra credit? This looks like fertile ground for employment discrimination litigation against both the client and the compliant law firm. Notice that age is not a criterion measured ..."

You can read Kerr's post, Adcock's story and comment at this link.

Posted by Product Team on May 13, 2005 at 01:47 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (1)


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Around here, The Client is King (or Queen), so you can imagine how thrilled we were to learn last week that 60 major law firms and 65 bar associations have entered [Read More]

Tracked on May 16, 2005 1:00:44 PM

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