Members of the Inclusion Initiative spent $42.6 million with minority and women owned law firms last year – $12.6 million above the $30 million first year goal, it was jointly announced today by Accenture, American Airlines, Comcast, DuPont, Exelon, General Mills, GlaxoSmithKline, Microsoft, Prudential, Sempra Energy, and Walmart. Google, JPMorgan Chase, Macy's, Shell Oil Company, Verizon and Xerox also announced today that they have joined the Inclusion Initiative for 2011. Together, the 17 Inclusion Initiative member companies have set a goal of collectively spending $70 million with MWBE law firms in 2011.
"The Inclusion Initiative was launched in 2010 to demonstrate that leading companies in an array of industries are successfully using diverse law firms for a wide variety of complex legal matters," said Thomas L. Sager, senior vice president and general counsel at DuPont. "We're especially pleased that this success came in such a challenging economic environment," Sager added.
Shell Oil Company, a long-time leader in legal diversity, is among the companies signing on to the Inclusion Initiative for 2011. "Shell is proud to join the Inclusion Initiative to demonstrate further our commitment to diversity and to utilizing the outstanding talent available among women and minority owned law firms," said Curtis Frasier, executive vice president and general counsel of Shell Oil Company. "By setting a higher 2011 spending goal for the Inclusion Initiative, we are providing more opportunities for these firms and benefiting from their incredible talent pool to help achieve our goals."
"We are thrilled that the Inclusion Initiative has been so successful in its first year and pleased to have contributed to the launch of this innovative project to build and sustain diversity in the legal profession," said Susan Blount, senior vice president and general counsel at Prudential. "With the participation of the six new members who are joining the Inclusion Initiative this year, I am confident that we will be able to report even more impressive results for minority and women owned law firms this time next year. What better demonstration is there of the ability of these firms to satisfy the legal needs of corporate America?"
"The first year results of the Inclusion Initiative make two things unequivocally clear: Companies which are serious about legal diversity can have a significant impact by using minority and women owned law firms, and there are numerous diverse law firms fully capable of serving the needs of America's leading companies," added Richard Amador, Inclusion Initiative task force chair for the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law firms (NAMWOLF). The initiative is not limited to the use of NAMWOLF law firms. The Inclusion Initiative is administered by NAMWOLF, which is comprised of nearly one hundred certified MWBE law firms and dedicated to increasing the utilization of MWBE law firms by corporate legal departments. www.namwolf.org.