April 13, 2020

ABA, Microsoft partner to launch platform providing online access to ABA Model Diversity Survey

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2020 — The American Bar Association, in conjunction with the Law School Admission Counsel, Microsoft and Coffee + Dunn, today announced the launch of a new platform that enables organizations participating in the ABA Model Diversity Survey to easily and efficiently obtain the information provided by their law firms that complete the survey. Companies can electronically request, access and review their outside law firm’s diversity data in real time. Law firms, in turn, can submit their data online in an efficient and streamlined process.

“As the legal profession strives to better reflect the communities we serve, the Model Diversity Survey will help move us in that direction,” ABA President Judy Perry Martinez said. “The survey will enhance corporations’ ability to assess the diversity of a law firm and its policies when deciding which firm to retain. In addition, the survey will provide substantive data on law firm diversity, which will be published in a forthcoming report. The ABA extends thanks to Microsoft for developing and donating its services and to our partners at the Law School Admissions Council and Coffee + Dunn for helping administer such a dynamic online user-friendly platform.”

The ABA Model Diversity Survey is a 4-year-old initiative that has garnered the backing to date of 114 general counsels of Fortune 1000 companies, universities, nonprofits, and government and local agencies (as signatories) to support ABA Resolution 113 and request that law firms providing them legal services share their diversity, equity and inclusion data via the survey. Nearly 500 law firms have completed the Model Diversity Survey in each of the last two years.

Companies that have taken the pledge have access to the online platform to view their law firms’ diversity data and to also invite those firms to complete the annual survey via the platform. Law firms then log in and complete the survey online. 

In 2016, the ABA House of Delegates passed Resolution 113, which urges all providers of legal services, particularly law firms, to expand and create opportunities at all levels of responsibility for diverse attorneys. The Model Diversity Survey was developed to obtain data from law firms about the role of minorities, women, LGBTQ+, differently abled and veteran attorneys who work on matters for the corporate partners to the Model Diversity Survey. The survey provides a standardized reporting and benchmarking tool that (a) enables in-house law departments to measure law firm demographics; (b) tracks diversity hiring/promotion/retention improvements over time; and (c) enhances the ability of in-house counsel to drive purchasing decisions based in part on the law firm’s diversity demographics.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news  and on Twitter @Abase.