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WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
DIVERSITY DEMAND - Competition for for diverse legal talent is fiercer than ever, and recruiters are facing new pressure to place candidates from underrepresented backgrounds at the law firms they call clients. As Law.com’s Patrick Smith reports, that pressure is leading to a number of tricky questions for recruiters: whether to charge more for placing candidates from underrepresented groups who are in high demand; whether to accept more money for diverse recruits if firms are offering it; and, sometimes, whether they should even attempt to fulfill a firm’s request for diverse hires given their pool of candidates and the interests of those candidates. Stephanie Biderman, partner at legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, said she has seen some firms offer external recruiters a premium rate for sending over diverse recruits. “If this is one way for firms to say we are truly committed to improving our diversity, that’s a good thing,” she said. “It certainly doesn’t get you all the way there, but I don’t see it as such a terrible thing.” But when it comes to recruiters actively charging firms more for diverse placements, Biderman’s colleague Merle Vaughn, national law firm diversity practice head at MLA, expressed skepticism. “If a recruiter is asking to charge more for diverse recruits … To me that says the clients are talking to the wrong recruiter,” Vaughn said, adding,. “If you need to charge more, then perhaps you aren’t proficient in that area.”