It finally happened. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., a consumer of approximately $200 million in legal services annually, announced this past fall that it had fired one of its outside law firms — not because of the quality of its legal work but because the firm failed to meet statistical recruitment and retention goals for minority and women attorneys. Many other corporations are threatening to do the same with respect to their outside law firms.
It is not surprising, therefore, that diversity is the hot topic in law firms these days. Diversity has grown well beyond a moral imperative; it has become a business necessity. It is no longer enough to commit to amorphous, if noble, goals of creating an inclusive environment. Corporations are now requiring their law firms to meet specific goals and prove that their legal matters are being handled by diverse lawyers.
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