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Two organisations promoting greater diversity in the legal industry have welcomed Intel’s commitment to only do business with law firms who meet certain diversity-related standards.
Intel’s executive vice president and general counsel Steven Rogers said in a November 2019 blog post that by January 2021, Intel would “not retain or use outside law firms in the US that are average or below average on diversity”.
Promoted as the ‘Intel Rule’, the full pledge states: “Firms are eligible to do legal work for Intel only if, as of that date and thereafter, they meet two diversity criteria: at least 21% of the firm’s US equity partners are women and at least 10% of the firm’s US equity partners are underrepresented minorities (which, for this purpose, we define as equity partners whose race is other than full white/Caucasian, and partners who have self-identified as LBGTQ+, disabled or as veterans).”
In this month’s open letter, WOL and the NGLCC urged Intel to work with firms which are owned by women and “underrepresented minorities”.
“Our member firms are, in most cases, at least 51% women or minority owned (at Women Owned Law, we define women owned as 50%), if not 100% so owned,” the letter read.
The letter added that it hoped the Intel Rule could lead to other companies adopting similar measures, and overcoming an unwillingness to work with women and minority-owned firms.
“Even though highly touted supplier diversity programs do not explicitly exempt the legal department, there is often strong resistance to the ‘risk’ of retaining unfamiliar and unproven attorneys and law firms to handle matters.”
“The ‘Intel Rule’ could help fundamentally change this perception as major corporations like yours intentionally include diverse-owned law firms in your pool of legal service providers,” the letter said.
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