The Coca-Cola legal department issued a letter stating that law firms seeking to work with the company must agree to use “at least 30 percent” of billed labor in the form of “diverse attorneys,” and of the 30 percent, “at least half” must be black attorneys.
The letter also states that law firms should strive to achieve the “ultimate aspiration” of 50 percent representation from black attorneys.
The new policy outlines penalties for firms who fail to comply with the new demands. If found after two quarterly reviews to not be in compliance with the new policy, they would have their pay reduced by 30 percent and become subject to termination.
This is a big ask from the soda company, as only 13.4 percent of the American population is black. According to the American Bar Association, a mere 5 percent of all attorneys are black as of 2020.
Coca-Cola vice president Bradley Gayton said that he hopes the policy will “effect real systemic change” and that other law firms should “take inspiration” from Coca-Cola.
The new company policy places law partners in a difficult position however, as the Civil Rights Act prohibits making employment decisions based on race. Should any of these companies have a qualified non-diverse lawyer be rejected based on their skin color, it would make that law firm vulnerable to a federal lawsuit.
This is just more nonsense from “Woka-Cola,” the company was exposed last month for training employees to “try and be less white” during their mandatory antiracism seminars.