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For years, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has talked about diversity, but has made little progress. In April 2006 the firm was the subject of a public chiding. Now Gibson, Dunn finally has enough minority partners to fill a modest-size conference table. In recent months, the firm announced four new minority partners�three lateral hires of Asian descent (Maurice Suh and Debra Wong Yang in Los Angeles and Selina Sagayam in London) and the elevation of an African American corporate associate (Rashida La Lande in New York). The firm now has ten minority partners out of a total of 280 shareholders. Hardly a breathtaking statistic, but for Gibson, Dunn, which ranked 115th on the Diversity Scorecard in 2005 and 110th in 2006, it’s a noteworthy achievement. The moves doubled the firm’s percentage of minority partners�from 2 percent to 4 percent. (This year the firm ranks 103rd on the Scorecard.) The firm’s improved numbers come after it endured a scolding of sorts last spring by Arthur Chong, who was then deputy general counsel of McKesson Corporation (Chong is now GC at Safeco Corporation). At a minority counsel conference in April 2006, Chong announced that McKesson was dumping an unnamed big firm from the company’s bid list because of the firm’s poor diversity record. It wasn’t hard to figure out that Chong was pointing the finger at Gibson, Dunn, since he mentioned that the firm’s diversity record was the subject of a magazine article. That article appeared in The American Lawyer and in Minority Law Journal [" Gibson's Failing Grade," Summer 2005]. So was Gibson, Dunn spurred to hire minority partners because of McKesson? Absolutely not, says managing partner Kenneth Doran: “Our diversity strategy is active, ongoing, and long-term, and was not impacted by a speech made last April.” Suh became the firm’s only Asian American partner when he joined the firm last fall after serving as a deputy mayor in Los Angeles. A former Howrey partner, Suh scoffs at the notion that his hiring has any deeper meaning. “I’m more focused on practice development and how that fits into the firm’s needs,” he says. But lateral hire Yang, the first Asian American woman to serve as a U.S. attorney (President George Bush appointed her to head the U.S. attorney’s office for the Central District of California in 2002), seems ready to take up the mantle of diversity. Noting that she helped start both the national Asian American bar association and the Chinese lawyers association in Los Angeles, Yang says, “I’ve lived [the diversity struggle]; I’ve pushed that all the time.” She adds that Gibson, Dunn managing partner Doran asked her to take a leadership role in promoting diversity. “I didn’t want to be a pioneer,” she says. “But I feel responsible.” Maybe she has her eye on a larger table for the conference room.

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