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After 16 years of observing scores of litigation teams from his seat on the Southern District bench, Judge Harold Baer Jr. has strong views about what is lacking in many law firms: diversity.

A stir recently erupted in the securities class action bar after Baer issued an order in a case against Gildan Activewear Inc., directing two of the largest firms in the field, Labaton Sucharow and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, to “make every effort” to put at least one woman and one minority lawyer on the case. The ensuing press about the order caused Edward Labaton, a senior partner at his firm, to make a rare court appearance earlier this month to publicly state that his firm was committed to equal opportunity (See Labaton’s letter to Baer).

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