Donald Prophete, a partner at Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, was in his New York office last week when he was suddenly inundated with calls from lawyers who had just learned that Bradley Gayton had resigned as the top lawyer at The Coca-Cola Co. and would begin serving as a consultant to the CEO for one year.  

“My phone was blowing up that day like I had an Amber Alert. I thought for certain that somebody important had died, like Obama,” Prophete said. “For whatever reason, I’m the nerve center for partners and senior lawyers of color on this issue.”