The Right Coast

July 07, 2005
Wal-Mart Blatantly Violates of Civil Rights Laws By Demanding Diversity in Law Firms
By Gail Heriot

According to the Fulton County Daily Report , "Wal-Mart's general counsel has told its top 100 law firms that at least one person of color and one woman must be among the top five relationship attorneys that handle its business. "

My friend Roger Clegg comments over at the National Review's Corner:

"The general counsel for Wal-Mart has told its outside counsel that “at least one person of color and one woman” must be on any legal team working on the company’s business .... Visa International, Del Monte, Pitney Bowes, and Cox Communications are making similar demands, according to the article.

This is outrageous—and illegal. Quotas require discrimination, and federal law prohibits racial discrimination in deciding with whom you will contract. Federal law also prohibits employment discrimination, which is what law firms who accede to Wal-Mart’s quota demands will be engaging in.

Wal-Mart’s general counsel crowed, “We are terminating a firm right now strictly because of their inability to grasp our diversity expectations.” The law firm should sue. Lawyers at other firms who are denied spots on legal teams because they are the wrong color or sex should sue, too. "