Washington Lawyer - March/April 2024 - 15

FEATURE
grams specifically to diverse first- and second-year law students, effectively
discriminating against nonwhite applicants.
" Excluding students from these esteemed fellowships because they are
the wrong race is unfair, polarizing and illegal, " Blum said in a statement
at the time the suits were filed.
In all three cases, Blum cited the 1866 Civil Rights Act, which was passed
after the U.S. Civil War to protect the rights of former slaves of African descent.
The law defined citizenship and affirmed that citizens are equally
protected under the law, spelling out rights regarding real and personal
property, giving evidence in court, and entering into and enforcing contracts.
Perkins
Coie offered fellowships to law school students who are people
of color, identify as LGBTQ, or have a disability. Successful applicants
were paid at summer associate rates and awarded stipends to help with
tuition costs. Morrison & Foerster's Keith Wetmore Fellowship for Excellence,
Diversity, and Inclusion was open to 1L students " who are members
of historically underrepresented groups in the legal industry, " similar
to Winston & Strawn's 1L LCLD Scholars Program.
After the firms agreed to change their program criteria, AAER dismissed
the lawsuits.
Perkins Coie's website now states that its methods " may evolve over time
as the legal landscape changes, " but that its commitment to DEI will " remain
steadfast. " Currently, its Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Program is
open to " all students in good standing " at their schools. The firm asks for
a one-page personal statement " identifying connections " between applicants'
life experiences and " the broader goal of advancing diversity,
equity, and inclusion in the legal profession. " Morrison & Foerster and
Winston & Strawn similarly opened applications to all students.
Beyond pressuring firms to reframe how they present their diversity fellowships,
it's not clear what Blum believes he accomplished with these
lawsuits. He told a Bloomberg reporter in an interview that he had no
additional plans to sue more law firms. " There's nothing left for us to do
in that space, " Blum said.
ROBERT GREY
Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
But in an email exchange
with Washington
Lawyer, Blum
said the Bloomberg
report " didn't include
the full context in
which I made that remark, "
pointing to a
December 6 press release
when his group
dismissed its lawsuit
against Winston &
Strawn.
" Winston & Strawn
published revised criteria
which no longer
is limited by race.
Winston & Strawn
notes that an applicant's
race is not to
be among the factors
its newly revised program
will consider
and will comport with
the opinion in Students
for Fair Admissions
v. President and
Fellows of Harvard College, "
the AAER press
release said.
In letters, Blum also
had threatened lawsuits
against Hunton
Andrews Kurth LLP,
Adams and Reese LLP,
Fox Rothschild LLP,
and Susman Godfrey
L.L.P.
JOSEPH K. WEST
Duane Morris LLP
Regarding Susman
Godfrey, " It is now apparent that in recent days, the firm has discreetly
made significant changes to both programs, " the AAER said in its December
6 statement. In response to AAER's demand letter, the firm said its diversity
fellowship for 1L students is " open to all students who have overcome
personal or systemic hardships or disadvantages, including those
who self-identify with a group that is underrepresented in the legal profession. "
The
firm also " quietly changed " terms of a cash award for diverse students
tied to a summer internship to remove an offer of employment,
AAER claimed.
NOT BACKING DOWN
Certainly, the lawsuits go to the very foundation of law firms' efforts to
bridge the diversity gap in the legal profession, including the underrepresentation
of women and minorities at the partnership level. And, if anything,
the fall of affirmative action is prompting companies and firms to
reexamine their diversity programs and find ways to recruit more widely
and take proactive measures to retain and advance people through their
careers.
" From a profession-wide perspective, it has definitely injected a lot more
dialogue into the ecosystem, " says Joseph K. West, partner and chief DEI
officer at Duane Morris LLP in Washington, D.C. " I don't think that's necessarily
a bad thing to think about what you're doing and ask yourself
whether or not it's working the way it should work. And whether or not it
is legally sound, " West says.
" If you are able to ensure that what you are doing advances laudable
goals of inclusion and inclusiveness, in a way that is almost agnostic as to
advancing any particular racial constituency to the disadvantage of others,
then you can accomplish your objectives, " he says.
LCLD is encouraging its members to reexamine their diversity programs
to make sure they are compliant with the way the law is being interpreted
now. The organization is offering guidance through informational
programming and by working with members to address specific concerns.
Grey emphasizes that LCLD's pipeline and talent development proMARCH/APRIL
2024 * WASHINGTON LAWYER 15

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
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/marchapril2024
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/januaryfebruary2024
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/januaryfebruary2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/januaryfebruary2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/januaryfebruary2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/januaryfebruary2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/januaryfebruary2022
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2021
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2021
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2021
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/marchapril2021
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/marchapril2021
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/septemberoctober2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June/July2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/March2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/February2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/November2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/july2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/february2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2016/
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2016
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com