CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Inclusion Initiative, a collaborative program among law departments at major corporations across the country, announced today that member companies spent over $240 million in 2017 with minority and women owned (MWBE) law firms.
In 2010, the initial year of the Inclusion Initiative, its members collectively spent $42 million with MWBE law firms. Since then, the program has grown significantly. Participating companies have spent more than $1.4 billion with MWBE law firms since the inception of the program. In addition, in every year since 2012, participating law departments have spent over $200 million with MWBE law firms each year.
“Minority and women owned law firms have a substantial role in creating a pipeline for diverse lawyers,” said Ann Kappler, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Prudential Financial, Inc., a founding company of the Inclusion Initiative. “Programs like the Inclusion Initiative have a multiplier effect—as the program has grown it has made a meaningful, positive impact on our target firms and the legal profession more broadly.”
At the heart of the Inclusion Initiative is the belief that MWBE law firms (i) play a vital role in providing opportunity to diverse attorneys and (ii) provide excellent, cost effective legal services that meet the needs of corporate America. Inclusion Initiative members believe that MWBE law firms provide a reliable pathway into the legal profession for law students and young lawyers of diverse backgrounds and house some of the nation’s most talented and seasoned attorneys capable of handling significant matters.
Since its founding, participation in the Inclusion Initiative has nearly tripled to 33 members. The current roster of participating companies includes: 3M, Accenture, Allstate, American Airlines, AT&T, Bank of America, CenterPoint Energy, The Coca-Cola Company, Comcast, Exelon, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, General Mills, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, JPMorgan Chase, McDonald’s Corporation, Macy’s, Merck, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Nationwide, NBCUniversal, Prudential Financial, Sempra Energy, Shell Oil Company, State Farm, Target, Toyota Financial Services, UPS, Verizon, Walmart, Wells Fargo, and Xerox.
Earlier this year, the Inclusion Initiative welcomed CenterPoint Energy to its ranks.
“At CenterPoint Energy, we believe it is important to have a workforce that reflects the diversity of our customers and the communities we serve,” said Dana O’Brien, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of CenterPoint Energy. “Our company is committed to actively and routinely seeking qualified diverse suppliers that can provide competitive and high-quality commodities and services. CenterPoint Energy’s Legal Department is proud to support the Inclusion Initiative through its use of minority and women owned law firms. Since our department began its supplier diversity efforts over the past few years, NAMWOLF has played a major role in providing support and awareness for our attorneys about inclusion and diversity initiatives, and we are excited to support these efforts by joining the Inclusion Initiative.”
The Inclusion Initiative is administered by the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF), which comprises over 193 certified MWBE law firms in 44 states.
“Corporate members of the Inclusion Initiative are a testament to the adage of putting thought into action,” said William Delgado, Inclusion Initiative Task Force Co-Chair and Board Member of NAMWOLF. “The commitment exhibited by each company helps ensure the success of minority and women owned law firms and furthers the important mission of diversifying the legal profession. NAMWOLF is excited about its continued collaboration with the Inclusion Initiative for years to come.”
Companies interested in joining or learning more about the Inclusion Initiative can contact Joel Stern at the number or email address provided below or visit: https://namwolf.org/in-house-counsel/inclusion-initiative.