CELA works to improve diversity in our partner firms by incentivizing our preferred provider firms to diversify their leadership and by engaging women- and minority-owned business enterprises (WMBE).
In 2010, we joined the Inclusion Initiative, sponsored by the National Association for Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF). Initiative members collaborate to increase diversity in the legal profession by supporting women and minority-owned law firms. Since joining the Inclusion Initiative, CELA has spent more than $100 million on legal services at such firms.
ABA Resolution 113
Microsoft supports ABA Resolution 113, which encourages legal departments to ask law firms to complete a survey on diversity and to consider this information when retaining a firm.
Law Firm Diversity Program
In 2008, we began the Law Firm Diversity Program (LFDP) to incentivize diverse representation on Microsoft matters and diverse representation within the firms we work with themselves. The program has been incredibly successful, with the percentage of diverse attorneys working on our behalf increasing from 33% to 48.2% in six years.
In 2015, we pivoted LFDP to include a focus on diverse leadership. The LFDP now measures three aspects of leadership: within the law firm, in the law firm’s relationship with Microsoft, and on Microsoft’s legal matters.
Below you will find materials outlining the creation of the program and its evolution.
- July 2015 Letter from Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith to participants in the Law Firm Diversity Program (PDF)
- July 2015 Updated program description (PDF)
- August 2015 Blog from Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith announcing updated Law Firm Diversity Program
- Recognizing 2017's top performer in Microsoft’s Law Firm Diversity Program
- Celebrating 10 years of Microsoft’s Law Firm Diversity Program and honoring 2018’s top performer
- Letter from Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith to Participants in the Law Firm Diversity Program 2008 (PDF)
- Detailed Q&A for Participants in the Law Firm Diversity Program 2008 (PDF)
- Program Update Letter to Participants in the Law Firm Diversity Program 2010 (PDF)
- Law Firm Diversity Program Innovation Responses 2019 (PDF)