Diversity at Law Firms and the DOJ
Law.com has an article about a new study analyzing racial and gender diversity among the lawyers at the Department of Justice:
According to the report, conducted in 2002 by KPMG Consulting (now known as BearingPoint) and Taylor Cox Associates, the Justice Department's attorney ranks are more diverse with respect to race, ethnicity, and gender than the U.S. legal work force overall.
The article doesn't list every recruiting technique that the DOJ uses to bring in (and hopefully retain) minority attorneys, but the ones they do list don't seem to offend any notions of nondiscrimination:
At a ceremony in the Justice Department's Great Hall, Thompson announced that the department was creating a new recruiting position responsible for reaching a broader applicant pool and would begin advertising all attorney vacancies on the Internet.
And to improve morale and retention, Thompson reported that the department would institute a mentoring program for all incoming attorneys, initiate diversity training, and establish a formal career development program.
In addition, the department launched a student loan repayment program that will assist roughly 50 lawyers this year and up to 100 lawyers in 2004.
This might help to explain one of the stranger things I saw in this interviewing season: numerous firm brochures which listed both their nondiscrimination policy and their commitment to a diverse workplace on the same page.
But what I've been wondering is whether opponents of affirmative action would also be opposed to recruiting and marketing drives that clearly target minority groups. Here's a hypothetical, for argument's sake: Firm A is a very prestigious firm, ranks high in all the various lists, and normally recruits only the cream of the crop from the top schools. But it has a problem with racial diversity, having only a handful of minority attorneys. So this fall, the firm decides to interview not only at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Chicago, as they do every year, but also at Howard. They make it a policy to hire at least one person from each school. Have they done anything morally and/or legally wrong? Have they violated their own nondiscrimination policies? What about those of the law schools?
UPDATE: Along these lines, Tung Yin points me to Eugene Volokh's law review article on California's Prop 209; particularly interesting is the section on outreach programs:
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