This is a tough economy. Diverse defense firms are experiencing severe financial stress as a result of this economy. Amidst the backdrop of this financial crisis, several companies, including Dupont, Excelon, Microsoft, Accenture, American Airlines, Comcast, General Mills, GlaxoSmithKline and Prudential have decided to “put their money where their mouth is” and they have pledged to spend at least thirty million dollars with minority law firms in 2010.
According to published reports in Law.Com Corporate Counsel, the companies have dubbed their effort the “Inclusion Initiative” and they have agreed to work with the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF) to identify best practices for corporations to maximize relationships with high quality minority and women owned law firms.
According to Thomas Sager, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Dupont, this initiative will help to improve chances “that the economic downturn does not disproportionately affect minority and women owned law firms.” Sager also pointed out that many minority law firms are smaller and more cost effective. Sager views this initiative as a way for corporate law firms to cut costs at a time when many law departments are trying to trim budgets.
This initiative is a “win-win” for business and for diverse law firms. Hopefully, long term business relationships will result from the initiative.