Virginia Business magazine prominently featured McGuireWoods managing partner J. Tracy Walker IV in a story about the renewed emphasis on diversity and inclusion in law firms — a priority shared by prominent corporate clients. The story, “Arguing the Case for Diversity,” was published in the magazine’s April issue.
The magazine reported that the urgency behind diversity and inclusion has been more pronounced since The Coca-Cola Co. announced in January a new policy mandating that at least 30 percent of work it contracts from law firms be performed by “diverse attorneys.” Of that amount, at least half of the billable hours must be performed by Black lawyers, the story noted.
A. Benjamin Spencer, dean of the William & Mary Law School, told the magazine that McGuireWoods has been a “standout” in recruiting and developing a new generation of diverse legal talent.
Walker said McGuireWoods shares Coca-Cola’s goal “to drive real change in our industry.” The firm aims “to be flexible and holistic in our hiring practices,” he explained, and considers “a wide variety of factors in selecting who to make job offers to, and we start off the process with a diverse recruiting committee.”
Virginia Business noted that McGuireWoods has achieved Mansfield Rule Certification by meeting goals for increasing diversity in lateral hiring, partner promotions, marketing and firm governance.
Walker emphasized that hiring is just the first step in building a more diverse law firm. “Retention and promotion are equally, if not more, important,” he said.
That is why the firm works to ensure that lawyers from all backgrounds “have a meaningful opportunity not only to work on our clients’ most important matters, but to lead our client/matter teams,” he said.