Wal Mart pushes for greater diversity in outside counsel

March 24, 2011 It is the eve of one of the biggest class actions in US history, with the Supreme Court due next week to consider whether hundreds of thousands of women can band together to sue Wal-Mart for alleged sex discrimination.

Meanwhile, the retail giant continues to push for diversity in its outside counsel. Wal-Mart has – over the past few years – requested that its advising law firms hire and retain more women and minority lawyers. And now they have taken another step, insisting that a greater proportion of female and minority lawyers get origination credit for Wal-Mart work.

The initiative is designed to ensure that firms not only have a more diverse legal staff, but also that they ensure that minorities are designated as key client contacts.

"We don’t have enough evidence yet to see what this will do," said Marci Rubin, executive director of the California Minority Counsel Program. "It will make a difference in credit, that’s clear. Whether or not that translates into clout and seriously into power within the firm – that’s an issue to be seen."

Read more at blogs.wsj.com.

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