DCI Client Alert Draws Response

by Patricia A. Schaeffer, Vice President-Regulatory Affairs

A recent DCI client alert on “Diversity Efforts at Law Firms Come Under Fire” drew an immediate response from the office of Veta T. Richardson, who is the executive director of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and serves as CEO and director of publications for Diversity & the Bar magazine.

The client alert in question discussed highlights from a forum sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute entitled “Are Law Firms Breaking the Law” because of their implementation of diversity programs to hire more women and minorities. One of the panelists at this forum was Richard Sander from UCLA’s School of Law whose research suggests that law firm diversity efforts are often counterproductive as minority lawyers with “radically different credentials” than their colleagues are recruited to elite firms.

In response to this client alert, Richardson submitted her article published in the August 21, 2006 issue of LegalTimes entitled “The ‘Unqualified’ Myth.” In her article, Richardson addresses previous assertions made by Sander that law firms lower hiring standards in considering minority attorneys, that minorities who leave firms do so due to lack of qualifications, and that diversity-hiring programs adversely affect minorities. Richardson believes Sander’s assertions are unfounded, and she presents persuasive evidence to support her position.

Although Richardson’s article addresses diversity in the law firm context, EEO/AA compliance and human resource practitioners will find her comments instructive, particularly since corporate clients are pushing law firms to become more diverse.

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