Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 14

FEATURE
REFRAMING
LAW FIRM
DEI EFFORTS
IN THE POST-AFFIRMATIVE ACTION ERA
By William Roberts
T
he legal and political landscape
around diversity initiatives in
the legal profession is evolving,
as law firms and legal organizations
redefine their diversity
programs in the aftermath of
the U.S. Supreme Court's June
2023 landmark decision striking
down race-conscious admissions in higher
education.
To avoid legal risk, some firms are adjusting their student fellowships
aimed at people of color, women, and LGBTQ individuals, even as firm
leaders say they are not backing down from their commitment to advancing
diversity.
" We want a profession as diverse as the country we serve. And that has
been our North Star as we have developed the program activities of the
organization for its members, " says Robert Grey, president of the Leadership
Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) based in Richmond, Virginia.
LCLD is a member-led organization of more than 400 corporate chief
legal officers and law firm managing partners dedicated to the work of
building a diverse legal profession. The organization assists member
firms and companies in their talent development efforts by providing
training and support for minority law students entering the profession.
A CHILLING EFFECT?
The legal profession remains among the least diverse in the United
States, according to data and surveys. The ABA's 2021 Model Diversity
Survey shows that firm leadership and the top 10 percent of the highest
paid attorneys are disproportionately white and male. Among equity
partners, men make up 77 percent, and white attorneys nearly 90 percent.
On a positive note, a 2022 survey of global firms by the Minority
Corporate Counsel Association found that DEI initiatives have been
" gaining momentum " within the profession.
But following the Supreme Court's decision in Students for Fair Admissions,
Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, law firms' diversity
initiatives are now facing strict scrutiny. Last year, fresh off his victory
against affirmative action, Students for Fair Admissions President Edward
Blum filed several lawsuits against major law firms through his Texasbased
group American Alliance for Equal Rights (AAER).
In complaints against Perkins Coie LLP and Morrison & Foerster LLP in
August, and against Winston & Strawn LLP in October, Blum claimed the
firms had violated equal rights law by offering fellowships and other pro14
WASHINGTON LAWYER
* MARCH/APRIL 2024

Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024

Notice to Members
From Our President
Calendar of Events
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
Defending Diversity: Rise of DEI-Focused Practices
Will Law Firms Stay the Course on Improving Diversity?
Unlocking the Potential of Diverse Talent
We Belong: Black Students in the IP Talent Pipeline
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: Her Legacy Lives on Through Us
Get to Know The Appellate Project
Speaking Up for Lawyers With Invisible Disability
Special Section: 25 Years of the Youth Law Fair
Taking the Stand
Worth Reading
Member Spotlight
On Further Review
Attorney Briefs
Speaking of Ethics
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 4
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Notice to Members
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Defending Diversity: Rise of DEI-Focused Practices
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 11
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 12
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 13
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Will Law Firms Stay the Course on Improving Diversity?
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 15
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 16
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 17
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Unlocking the Potential of Diverse Talent
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 19
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - We Belong: Black Students in the IP Talent Pipeline
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 21
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 22
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 23
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: Her Legacy Lives on Through Us
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 25
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Get to Know The Appellate Project
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 27
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Speaking Up for Lawyers With Invisible Disability
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 29
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 30
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 31
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Special Section: 25 Years of the Youth Law Fair
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 33
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 35
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 36
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 39
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 43
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 45
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 47
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - Cover4
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