• Richard Easson

Coca-Cola Demands Diversity Within Law Firms It Utilizes...Or Else

World-famous beverage brand Coca-Cola announced that it will require diversity among the law firms who bill the company and will reduce payments to those who don’t comply, or, ultimately discontinue doing business with them.

Talk about authoritarianism.

One of the corporation’s recent hires, an African American general counsel by the name of Bradley Gayton, penned a letter to the law firms it uses disclosing the changes Coke will be making.

In his letter Gayton wrote, “Quite simply, we are no longer interested in discussing motivations, programs, or excuses for little to no progress – it’s the results that we are demanding and will measure going forward.”

The move comes as many Fortune 500 companies are coming out and saying that they’re addressing racial inequality in the wake of the BLM protests throughout 2020.

Coca-Cola informed the law firms it works with that it will require quarterly reporting regarding the diversity of their legal teams – more specifically, Coke is looking for more of those who identify as American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, Black, women, Hispanic/Latinx, LGBTQ, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander or persons with disabilities.

For newer matters being worked on for Coke, “at least 30 percent of each of billed associate and partner time will be from diverse attorneys, and of such amounts at least half will be from black attorneys.”

The company said that eventually it seeks to see half of the billings coming from black attorneys and that firms who fail to meet their criteria will be docked 30 percent of their billing fees. For those who consistently miss the demanded criteria, their work with Coke could be on the chopping block.

Coca-Cola currently employs 240 legal staffers around the world with about half located in the United States. Half of the attorneys are white while 23 percent are black, 18 percent Asian, and 10 percent Hispanic.

Gayton’s addressed the percentages saying that those numbers are “pretty good” but he wants “to do better with Hispanic and Latinx.” “Latinx,” a word still unaccepted by many in the Latin community.

Coca-Cola could very well be setting a foundation for many other companies. HP told U.S. law firms in 2017 that it would withhold 10 percent of fees from those who did not maintain a “minimally diverse staff” on its matters, so it’s not necessarily a new concept, but Coke’s model is without a doubt a drastic step in holding law firms accountable for not following their criteria.

Yep, 50% of billings coming from only black attorneys is definitely diversity – just what Gayton wanted to address. So, at what point do the fair percentage allocations to other races come in?

Sounds like whites might start planning on “identifying” as anything but white in the very near future, wouldn’t you say?

Just as we expected, the new (and normal) future is here – progressives fighting racism with racism