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A decade ago, dissatisfied with the glacial pace of recruitment of minority lawyers at his outside firms, Sara Lee Corporation’s then general counsel, Roderick Palmore, convinced 72 U.S. companies to agree to reduce or end ties with firms that lacked a commitment to diversity. Sure enough, the diversity dial moved; between 2004 and 2008, Asian and Hispanic lawyer head count jumped by a quarter, to 6.1 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively, while African-American head count rose from 3.2 percent to 3.6 percent, according to sibling publication The National Law Journal.

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