HP, Mandating Diversity, Will Withhold Fees From Some Firms

, Corporate Counsel

   | 9 Comments

In-house legal departments regularly encourage, and in some cases require, that outside firms have some level of diversity in staffing legal work. Hewlett-Packard Inc. has taken this mandate a step further—saying the company will withhold invoiced fees from firms that do not meet diversity requirements.

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What's being said

  • Patrick

    Will HP defend and indemnify the law firms when the Cis-white males sue their law firm employers for race and sex discrimination? What do the law firms‘ EPLI carriers think of this?

  • M. L. King

    Note to self: Never buy an HP product or service, or any product or service HP contributes to, as long as I live.

  • non lawyer

    Besides being ridiculous and arbitrary, isn‘t it illegal to not pay someone after they have already done the work? They are talking about outstanding invoices here. Now that I think about it the guys who put the gutter gaurd on last weekend didn‘t have a single woman or transgender or hindu on their crew!

  • Jim W.

    Diversity is a false quality indicator, often a challenge rather than a strength. Forcing a diversity ratio adds risk and cost to any endeavor. Pony up the bucks and I‘ll give you whatever arbitrary and capricious team composition you want.

  • Mitch Z.

    Clients are now mandating affirmative action quotas? What utterly insane NONSENSE! Why doesn’t HP just follow the lead of Tanehesi Coates and pay reparations? There is NO business reason for HP or any business entity to employ “diverse” legal representation, especially when the brightest lawyers from the best schools are NOT diverse! What’s next? A requirement that 20% of all organ transplants be performed racial minorities? Law in the USA is the LEAST discriminatory job/profession on the planet, period! If you can do the work, no one cares if you’re a martian, a cyclops or a hermaphrodite. Yet it remains an irrefutable reality that, absent extremely aggressive affirmative action admissions programs with significantly watered down objective criteria, the overwhelming majority of racial minorities would not be admitted to top law schools. Yet even that degree of blatant discrimination isn’t enough. Now loony liberal lawyers are going to impose artificial mandates on who performs their legal work, with no objective proof doing so will improve the work quality or that there has been any actual discrimination? Liberals are lunatics!

  • Tim

    "The performance of so-called under-represented minorities in law school and practice has been highly problematic, and reflects the significant underperformance of certain groups in the LSAT." Yeah, that‘s not racist at all. What the latest LSAT report actually shows is a significant difference in mean scoring -- according to region, irrespective of race or gender. This indicates that quality of education in the Northeast is better than in the Southeast of the United States. The impact of superior education is further magnified when you look at the LSAT scores of foreign test takers -- who outperformed both Caucasians and Asian Americans across all measures. So yeah, take your racist Bell Curve theories somewhere else.

  • David

    What counts as "diverse"? A while back I interviewed a firm that consisted entirely of ethnic Chinese attorneys (it made sense for the firm, as their target clients were companies that wanted to do business between the US and China). Under my company‘s "diversity" counting, that firm would have counted as a "diverse" firm, even though the firm staffing was ethnically monolithic.

  • Mark

    If I was the law firm, I would include in my engagement letter that they waive any legal malpractice claim in case one of the "diverse" attorneys screws up. This is an obscene and offensive policy. Who cares what the skin color, sex, etc. is of the lawyer who is performing outstanding legal work.

  • Alex

    This is unethical. Her absolute fiduciary duty to HP is not to advance her social goals, but to find the best lawyer for each job undertaken for her company. To mandate that some choices by her outside counsel be impacted by skin color is racist and forces her counsel to serve her client -- HP -- with persons they may not necessarily choose based on merit. The performance of so-called "under-represented" minorities in law school and practice has been highly problematic, and reflects the significant underperformance of certain groups in the LSAT. If a person with pink or orange or black or chartreuse skin is the best for a job, hire them. If they aren‘t, this woman is acting unethically.

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