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New York City Bar Gets Tough on Diversity (Metropolitan Corporate Counsel)

Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, November 18, 2016

New York City Bar Gets Tough on Diversity

“In an attempt to jumpstart what it calls ‘stalled progress’ for minority and women lawyers, the New York City Bar is getting tough on firms in the world’s biggest legal market. In its recently released Diversity Benchmarking Report – which included the news that representation of minority attorneys has declined despite firms’ increased support for diversity initiatives, the City Bar noted some ‘significant changes’ to its reporting based on recommendations from a task force assigned to review the benchmarking survey with an eye toward strengthening the impact of its data. One change in particular stands out: participation in the survey is now mandatory for the 119 law firm signatories to the Bar’s Statement of Diversity Principles. The statement says, in part, ‘[W]e pledge to facilitate diversity in the hiring, retention and promotion of attorneys and in the elevation of attorneys to leadership positions within our respective organizations.’ Seventy-five firms complied. This led to a far more robust harvest of information, as reflected in the 2015 report. Those firms that did not participate will be stripped of the right to be listed as signatories, says the Bar, sending a strong signal that it means business.”

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