CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Inclusion Initiative, a collaborative program among law departments at major corporations across the country, announced today that 31 member companies have spent more than $1.6 billion with MWBE law firms since the program’s inception in 2010. In addition, the initiative welcomed two new member companies, Honda and Walgreens, this year.
“The Inclusion Initiative makes a meaningful, positive impact on the legal profession by encouraging members to make tangible commitments to hiring diverse firms, helping them to thrive in the market,” said Ann Kappler, senior vice president and deputy general counsel of Prudential Financial, Inc., a founding company of the Inclusion Initiative. “At Prudential, a culture of diversity and inclusion is ingrained in our DNA and is paramount to our success. Diverse teams provide a distinct advantage by seeing problems differently and by highlighting unforeseen challenges and opportunities—leading to better, informed results.”
The Inclusion Initiative is administered by the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF), which comprises over 197 certified MWBE law firms in 42 states. In 2010, its members collectively spent $42 million with MWBE law firms. Since then, the program has grown significantly, with companies spending nearly $240 million in 2018 and membership nearly tripling in size.
“Walgreens’ legal division is proud to support NAMWOLF and the Inclusion Initiative through its expanded use of minority- and women-owned law firms,” said Elena Kraus, general counsel, Walgreens. “At Walgreens, diversity is a matter of creating and nurturing our culture through our relationships with team members, suppliers and external partners. Fostering an environment that embraces human differences and promotes inclusion is a key goal for our organization. Having our culture top of mind when we engage stakeholders internally and externally creates a path toward business and personal success.”
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. The initiative is constantly evolving to ensure it is achieving its mission. In recent years, the initiative expanded its definition to include LGBTQ-owned firms among its list of MWBE law firms.
“One of Honda’s core values is to maximize the strength of diversity by creating an inclusive environment where each of our associates can reach their highest potential,” said David Peim, deputy general counsel, Honda North America, Inc. “That is why Honda is proud to support NAMWOLF and the Inclusion Initiative. We truly believe that NAMWOLF’s mission of inclusion and diversity in the legal community helps power us to excellence.”
The current roster of participating companies includes: 3M, Accenture, Allstate, Bank of America, CenterPoint Energy, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Exelon, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Google, Honda, 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, Verizon, Walgreens, Walmart, Wells Fargo, and Xerox.
“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.