Last year, general counsel of major U.S. corporations issued a strong mandate to their outside counsel. Give us diverse teams of attorneys, they said, or else. While such strategies had been implemented before by clients, this time the request took a much more serious tone that threatened to affect firms’ bottom lines.

General counsel at Hewlett-Packard, Facebook Inc. and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. announced initiatives in early 2017 that required more diversity among their outside counsel at the risk of decreased fees.

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