Perkins Coie Recognized by Intel and Microsoft as Most Diverse Outside Legal Team in the US

Perkins Coie has been recognized by both Intel Corporation and Microsoft as the most diverse outside legal team of 2019. The annual awards – which are made independently from one another – are aimed at encouraging diversity among outside law firms. The awards come as Microsoft announces that it is launching a version of the scheme in the UK and increasing the diversity bonus incentive from 2% to 3% of annual fees.

Intel and Microsoft are among the corporates that have recently put in place diversity quotas. Under Intel’s initiative, beginning January 1, 2021, Intel will not retain outside law firms in the United States that are average or below average on diversity. Law firms will be eligible to do legal work for Intel only if, as of that date and thereafter, they meet two diversity criteria: at least 21% of the firm’s U.S. equity partners are women and at least 10% of the firm’s U.S. equity partners are underrepresented minorities.

In announcing the Intel Rule last year, Steven Rodgers, Intel’s executive vice president and general counsel noted: “Today, we call on corporate law departments to also renew our shared commitments to take concrete steps to develop and hire diverse outside teams.”

“We applaud Intel’s leadership in championing diversity and inclusion and holding its outside law firms accountable for having diverse and inclusive teams,” said Bill Malley, Perkins Coie’s firmwide managing partner. “We are honored to be named Intel’s most diverse law firm, which underscores our firm’s long-held commitment to diversity and inclusion as core values—not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it builds better teams and ensures better solutions and outcomes for our clients.”

Microsoft, meanwhile, launched its Law Firm Diversity Program (LFDP) in 2008 and reports annually on the program’s results, including highlighting top performances among our law firm participants.

This year, both Perkins Coie and Latham & Watkins earned special recognition for their diversity achievements and contributions to our program.

Perkins Coie again achieved “Top Performer” for the firm that made the greatest gains across the diversity focus areas for the program.

In the last five years, Perkins Coie has achieved impressive progress against LFDP program goals, growing diverse attorney hours on Microsoft matters by 12.3 percentage points (from 56.7% to 69%), and a 10.3 point increase in overall diverse partner representation at the firm (from 33.6% to 43.9%). Perkins Coie has also made great progress in diverse representation on its management committee, with over 64% of their committee members identifying as women, minorities, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities and veterans.

Perkins Coie’s most recent partner class was 41% women and 22% lawyers of colour. Of the promoted counsel class, 42% are women and 17% are lawyers of colour.

The firm has announced that it will donate $2.5 million dollars over the next five years to groups that promote racial equality through legal representation, policy advocacy, and community-based activities. Perkins Coie is also taking additional actions to further improve racial equality and justice.

Latham was recognised as “Most Innovative” for exceptional innovation in efforts to increase diversity and inclusion at their firm.

The firm won over its peers with two new initiatives intended to create a culture of allyship at the firm and reward firm timekeepers for investing their time in diversity and inclusion efforts.

While in the last fiscal year, participating firms were eligible to earn a full bonus of up to 2 percent of their annual fees by meeting diversity targets in each of these areas, Microsoft said it is upping that to 3%. One third of the bonus that firms are eligible to earn will be allocated for growth in representation of African American, Black, Hispanic and Latinx peoples within the firms’ partnership ranks.

It is also widening the scheme to 20 additional firms – not just strategic partner firms.