March 29, 2019

Race and Equity in Legal and Corporate America

On March 28, 2019, the Consumer Financial Services Committee’s Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce sponsored a discussion called “Ethical Issues in the Law (and Tech).”  Bari A. Williams, Vice President of Legal, Business, and Policy Affairs at All Turtles, led the discussion, and Robin Nunn, a partner and head of the consumer financial services practice at Dechert LLP, served as the moderator.

The discussion started out with an identification of the key ethical issues in the intersection of law and tech.  Williams identified two such issues:  (1) lack of diversity when working on matters can expose you to bad product creation, and (2) lack of diversity when working on matters exposes you to blind spots with unintended results.

Williams discussed the roles of both in-house and outside counsel in tackling the problem of lack of diversity.  She noted that a growing number of in-house legal departments are taking on diversity initiatives internally, and are requiring that outside law firms staff diverse attorneys on matters.  For outside law firms, this means that to get and retain business, firms will have to “walk the walk” on diversity as clients’ diversity standards and put in place and enforced.

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