Members of the Inclusion Initiative, a collaborative program among law
departments at major corporations across the country, together spent
more than $250 million with minority- and women-owned (MWBE) law firms
in 2013 - far exceeding their $160 million goal.
The Inclusion Initiative was launched in 2010 by 11 large corporate law
departments spanning various industries to help increase diversity in
the legal profession by demonstrating the utility and cost-effectiveness
of using MWBE law firms for a variety of complex legal matters. The
program has since grown dramatically, both in terms of aggregate
expenditures and the number of participating companies.
Morgan Stanley and Nationwide joined the Inclusion Initiative earlier
this year, bringing the total number of members to 30. The other
participating companies are: 3M, Accenture, Aetna, Allstate, American
Airlines, AT&T, Bank of America, The Coca-Cola Company, Comcast, DuPont,
Exelon, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, General Mills,
GlaxoSmithKline, Google, JPMorgan Chase, Macy's, McDonald's Corporation,
Merck, Microsoft, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Prudential
Financial, Sempra Energy, Shell Oil Company, United Parcel Service,
Verizon, Walmart and Xerox.
"I could not be more proud of our growth and of the commitment to
diversity demonstrated by our corporate members. Each and every year of
the Initiative, our participating corporate law departments have
surpassed the goal for utilizing minority and women owned firms,
demonstrating by their actions that these law firms can play a key role
i the delivery of legal services to our businesses," said Rick Meade,
Vice President and Chief Legal Officer for International Businesses at
Prudential Financial, Inc. and Chairperson of the Inclusion Initiative.
For 2014, Inclusion Initiative members have set a collective goal of
spending $178,650,000 on minority- and women-owned (MWBE) law firms.
"As part of its core values, Morgan Stanley strives to create a spirit
of inclusion by bringing together and valuing dedicated professionals
with diverse backgrounds, talents, perspectives, cultural identities and
experiences. Joining the Inclusion Initiative was a natural fit for the
Company, and we are excited about the opportunity to contribute to the
Initiative," said Eric F. Grossman, Chief Legal Officer at Morgan
"Nationwide is excited to be named as a new member of the Inclusion
Initiative," said Pat Hatler, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal
Officer at Nationwide. "We're proud to continue our support of NAMWOLF
firms and to join 29 fellow companies who share a demonstrated
commitment to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession."
In 2004, a study commissioned by DuPont Legal found a marked drop since
the late 1980s in the number of minority-owned law firms serving
Corporate America. The DuPont study identified lack of access to and
relationships with corporate decision-makers and misperceptions of law
firm expertise and capabilities, as among the primary drivers of this
worrisome decline. A 2009 study by the Minority Corporate Counsel
Association reached similar conclusions.
The member companies in the Inclusion Initiative believe that diverse
law firms are a critical part of the solution to the diversity challenge
in the legal profession. The members also believe that diverse law firms
provide a reliable pathway into the legal profession for law students
and young lawyers from diverse backgrounds, and serve as a recruitment
source for diversity in major law firms and the judiciary.
"The overwhelmingly positive results of the Inclusion Initiative send a
clear message: companies that are truly serious about legal diversity
have a significant impact on the profession by using minority and women
owned law firms. There is no question that diverse law firms bring added
value and talent to the legal profession and are more-than capable of
servicing the legal needs of America's leading companies," said Robin
Wofford, 2013 Inclusion Initiative Task Force Co-Chair for the National
Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF).
The Inclusion Initiative is administered by NAMWOLF, which is comprised
of 117 certified MWBE law firms covering 34 states. Carla Fields Johnson
and Maurice Grant will co-chair the 2014 Inclusion Initiative task force
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