Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 35

with your clients. There are some lawyers who
think their job is just to say what the defendant
would say, and never argue with the client. I just
think that's dead wrong. While you have to ultimately accede to the client's wishes, it's your
duty to fight and argue with them, to give your
best judgment."
Another anecdote involved Justice Hugo Black,
one that touches on my January/February 2020
column about deploying aggression. "I used to
watch [Justice Black] in court. He was a master
in terms of cross-examining lawyers. He was
very polite and soft-spoken and had a Southern
accent," Rezneck said. "So he would start off
with this very calm questioning, not confrontational at all, and lead them down the primrose
path. Then, all of a sudden, he would switch and
turn into a real cross-examiner. He was just
amazing. It was all done impromptu."
Rezneck has a wealth of his own experiences in
the courtroom, and they are equally impressive,
perhaps reserved for another column. These snapshots give insight into moments in legal history
that may never be re-created. I can't say for sure if
these approaches to litigating would fit in the
modern courtroom, but that's a useful thing
about history - past practices don't need to hold
true now to offer insight.
Lloyd Liu is a partner at Coburn & Greenbaum
PLLC, where he focuses on white-collar defense,
government investigations, and complex civil
litigation.

NOTES
1 Judge Bennett was a district judge for the U.S.
District Court for the District of Northern Iowa.
2 Judge Mark W. Bennett, "Eight Traits of Great
Trial Lawyers: A Federal Judge's View on How to
Shed the Moniker 'I Am a Litigator,''' The Review
of Litigation, Vol. 33:1 (Winter 2013), available at
mow.uscourts.gov/sites/mow/files/1_Judge_
Bennett_8_Traits.pdf.
3 "Williams assiduously debunked the notion that
a good trial lawyer wins most of the time. Even
the best, he argued, could only win 60 percent
of the cases." Christopher Buckley, "The Case for
Edward Bennett Williams," The Washington Post
(November 3, 1991), washingtonpost.com/archive/
entertainment/books/1991/11/03/the-case-foredward-bennett-williams/8122e400-ecab-4b399c06-119fd9bfb6e7.
4 See Judge Zuberi Bakari Williams, "Because It
Matters: A Tribute to the Honorable Gerald Bruce
Lee," 67 American University Law Review 1509 (2018).

DIVERSITY continued from page 21
important pieces of a lawyer's advancement,
and you can make smaller changes there. By
selecting a diverse team for a new client, you
give equal access to good work. It's a small
tweak, but it's part of a process."

PLAYING AT THE EDGES?
Some people wonder, however, whether the
MTN Fund will work, despite its good intentions. They believe the legal community has
been working around the margins for decades
and not going anywhere fast.

guarded process. I'm not sure how much
traction anyone could get."
What gives the MTN Fund more of a chance for
success, say its defenders, is that there is money,
measurement, and momentum behind its
diversity initiatives. Too often in the past, law
firms took a piecemeal approach to solving the
problems associated with diversity and inclusion, and the results reflected that. The MTN
Fund is emphasizing the importance of making
its initiatives scalable and replicable.

THE SILVER LINING

"Many of the ideas are well worth following,
but we know a lot more of the specifics about
what really will be effective across the profession, and they aren't these," says Bass. "In many
instances, this will be little more than nibbling
around the edges."

Everyone may not agree on process, but they do
agree on one key factor that is driving diversity
and inclusion today. Fortune 500 corporations
and major nongovernmental organizations are
adopting diversity measures inside their operations, and they have little patience for law firms
that are slow in doing the same.

Taylor concedes that many of these ideas and
strategies are available to any law firm interested in pursuing them, but he notes that what
isn't available is the weight of the coalition
bringing this initiative to the forefront of the
diversity movement.

"More and more, the clients are pushing law firm
leaders to change," says Chaskin. "Law firms are
having to consider both the rewards and the consequences for not changing. As long as clients
care about diversity and are putting their money
where their mouth is, law firms [have] to respond."

"The one thing we couldn't bring to the table
by ourselves was the group of general counsel
sitting in the room," says Taylor. "The Diversity
Lab's partnership with that group makes the
difference. For the skeptics, which there are in
every firm, the one thing they will always listen
to is clients. These guys send the message, 'walk
the walk or we'll drop-kick you.'"

For the MTN Fund's five founding firms, there
may be a competitive advantage to embracing
diversity in such a public fashion, both in terms
of wooing clients and attracting top-notch
talent. "Whenever we're talking to lateral recruits
and anyone interested in Nixon Peabody, we're
talking to them about how we are not just
partners and associates here," says Dafoe. "We
are a series of entrepreneurs. It's a very different
way of thinking in a firm. I do believe we are
uniquely situated to come up with different ideas
in this diversity space and then go out to the
market and share them."

Bass suggests, though, that the most-needed
reforms are those in the politically sensitive area
of financial rewards and penalties for partners
and practice groups that don't toe the line -
issues that challenge the core customs and
structure of law firms.
The Bass Institute hosted the AmLaw 100
Managing Partners Conference on Gender Parity
in May 2019, offering incremental and comprehensive approaches to diversity and inclusion.
Some of the bolder practices included linking
compensation and promotions to performance
on gender diversity and inclusion metrics, mandating transparency in salaries at all levels, and
developing policies on origination credit and
client succession.
"What she's talking about would likely require
a complete overhaul of the partner compensation system," says Chaskin. "That's a heavily

In publicly declaring their goals, the five firms
knew they would be judged on whether or not
they reach their targets. In fact, a number of
them had internal discussions about whether
to set an achievable or a lofty goal, knowing
full well that there could be criticism.
"If you don't reach your goal, then it looks internally and to the world like you failed," says Taylor.
"You have to reset your thinking. If you don't
achieve it, you haven't failed. Maybe it takes a little
longer. You have still moved along from where
you started, and that's success in its own right."
Sarah Kellogg is a regular contributor to
Washington Lawyer.

JUNE 2020

*

WASHINGTON LAWYER 35


https://www.mow.uscourts.gov/sites/mow/files/1_Judge_Bennett_8_Traits.pdf https://www.mow.uscourts.gov/sites/mow/files/1_Judge_Bennett_8_Traits.pdf https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/entertainment/books/1991/11/03/the-case-foredward-bennett-williams/8122e400-ecab-4b39-9c06-119fd9bfb6e7/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/entertainment/books/1991/11/03/the-case-foredward-bennett-williams/8122e400-ecab-4b39-9c06-119fd9bfb6e7/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/entertainment/books/1991/11/03/the-case-foredward-bennett-williams/8122e400-ecab-4b39-9c06-119fd9bfb6e7/

Washington Lawyer - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - June 2020

YOUR VOICE
FROM OUR PRESIDENT
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
BAR BUSINESS: BUDGET REPORT
MEET GEOFFREY M. KLINEBERG: 49TH PRESIDENT OF THE D.C. BAR
MOVING THE NEEDLE ON LAW FIRM DIVERSITY
THE 2020 JOHN PAYTON LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
JAMES SANDMAN GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
LAW & SERVICE: OAG CONNECTS TO THE COMMUNITY
ON FURTHER REVIEW
THE LEARNING CURVE
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
WORTH READING
ATTORNEY BRIEFS
DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
THE PRO BONO EFFECT
SPECIAL SECTION: UNFINISHED FIGHT
LAST WORD
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 4
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - YOUR VOICE
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - FROM OUR PRESIDENT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 7
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 9
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - BAR BUSINESS: BUDGET REPORT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MEET GEOFFREY M. KLINEBERG: 49TH PRESIDENT OF THE D.C. BAR
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MOVING THE NEEDLE ON LAW FIRM DIVERSITY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE 2020 JOHN PAYTON LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - JAMES SANDMAN GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - LAW & SERVICE: OAG CONNECTS TO THE COMMUNITY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - ON FURTHER REVIEW
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE LEARNING CURVE
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - WORTH READING
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - ATTORNEY BRIEFS
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE PRO BONO EFFECT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 48
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - SPECIAL SECTION: UNFINISHED FIGHT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 51
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - LAST WORD
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover4
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