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Why hasn’t the diversity Call to Action succeeded more?

By contributing author Jane DiRenzo Pigott, R3 Group LLC

Rick Palmore, the General Counsel of Sara Lee, put out his call to action about a year and one half ago. Many Chief Legal Officers of companies have signed on committing themselves to (1) making decisions with regard to which legal service providers to retain based on, in part, the diversity performance of the organization and (2) refusing to use legal service providers in the future who cannot demonstrate sustained diversity performance. What goal is this call to action intended to achieve?

One possible goal is to allow the CLO to meet his/her company’s vendor supplier diversity goals. Many CLO’s incentive compensation is tied to, among other things, achievement of these goals with regard to its outside legal service providers.

Another possible goal is to ensure that the CLO’s company has access to the best talent at the legal service providers it uses, instead of being treated like just the “usual client.”

Yet another possible goal is to explicitly provide opportunities for both the outside legal service providers and the diverse talent they employed to train, retain and be in a position to promote the diverse group of people they hire out of law school.

Any of these goals is worthwhile and something most people could personally support. Then why hasn’t the call to action worked?