Corporations to Exceed Commitment to Minority and Women Owned Law Firms

Inclusion Initiative a model for corporate legal departments

Sep 29, 2010, 12:51 ET from NAMWOLF

MILWAUKEE, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The Inclusion Initiative is on track to exceed its goal of spending $30 million with minority and women owned (MWBE) law firms in 2010, it was announced today by Accenture, American Airlines, Comcast, DuPont, Exelon, General Mills, GlaxoSmithKline, Microsoft, Prudential, Sempra, and WalMart – companies which jointly launched the Inclusion Initiative earlier this year.

"We wanted to make an immediate impact, putting more MWBE law firms on a path towards growth and prosperity, and providing greater opportunities for diverse lawyers," said Thomas L. Sager, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at DuPont. "And that's exactly what we're doing." A study commissioned by DuPont found a marked drop since the late 1980s in the number of successful minority and women owned law firms serving corporate America, prompting the corporate law departments to launch the Inclusion Initiative.

Susan L. Blount, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Prudential, said, "Collectively, Inclusion Initiative members have become leaders in helping to solve the diversity challenge in our profession. The Inclusion Initiative model shows that corporate law departments can successfully use minority and women owned law firms for complex legal matters while reducing costs and positively impacting diversity."

"These companies made a very public commitment to make an impact right now, and they are meeting it," said Richard Amador, Inclusion Initiative task force chair for the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law firms (NAMWOLF). "The companies have already agreed to renew and expand the effort in 2011.  Xerox and Shell Oil Company, which each have well-established diversity track records, have signed on for 2011 and we expect others will join them."

The Inclusion Initiative is administered by NAMWOLF, which is comprised of certified MWBE law firms and dedicated to increasing the utilization of MWBE law firms by corporate legal departments.