Race Bias #21 - "Private Quotas - Law"
Reprinted below is an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article on programs maintained by large businesses in the United States that grant explicit race-conscious preferences in hiring suppliers.
The reason for including this article is the splendid example of affirmative action newspeak. First, the spokesman for the black American Bar Association (an organization that would be illegal if working for the interests of whites) states that retaining minorities has become "an intrinsic part of strategy for _lowering_ outside counsel expenditures."
But then GM's general counsel for its Saturn Division states that GM has "increased billings with minority law firms and partners to well over $7 million last year, without substantially _raising_ the costs of hiring outside counsel."
Next, the black spokesman states that the cost cutting urge shouldn't lead companies "into assuming that minority attorneys should be asking for less compensation in return for cracking the barriers."
Fascinating view of how markets work! With few exceptions, every white business lawyer starting his own firm must undercut the price of the older, more established firms to get business.
Embedded in the quota mentality is this concept of special privilege. Minorities starting out do not have to offer the customer lower prices, as do their white counterparts starting new firms. They get to hunt on a restricted economic reservation, insulated from competition.
The excerpt below is an object lesson in the necessity for careful reading. The slogan and the reality are two different things.
The program is not mandated by government. Note especially the demand of General Motors for race based billings information. Remember this the next time you buy a car.
Nov. 23, 1994 Wall Street Journal p B1 Good Counsel For Minority Lawyers
THE COLOR OF LAW is changing, according to Roger N. Gordon, publisher of the Minority Counsel Report. Some 18% of the current first-year law school class is black, Hispanic or Asian. The Washington, D.C., newsletter advises aspiring lawyers of color on getting the most out of corporate initiatives to engage more minority lawyers as outside counsel.
Some 200 major corporations and 300 to 400 minority partners and minority-owned law firms participate in programs begun by the black American Bar Association. Other companies are using more minority lawyers, Mr. Gordon says, as the movement has gone "from a 'good thing to do' to being an intrinsic part of strategy for lowering outside counsel expenditures."
Since 1987, General Motors has increased billings with minority law firms and partners to well over $7 million last year, without substantially raising the costs of hiring outside counsel, says David A. Collins, general counsel for GM's Saturn division. Like all small firms, minority firms "are lean and hungry with low overhead and less complacency," Mr. Collins says, but that shouldn't lead companies "into assuming that minority attorneys should be asking for less compensation in return for cracking the barriers."
Mr. Gordon notes that publicly regulated firms and those that regularly appear before urban juries also are using more minority lawyers. He advises minority attorneys to look for a mandate from top management and to examine how it affects dealings with nonminority firms. GM, for example, requires law firms to break out billings by race and gender, and notifies firms of its "comfort" with being assigned minority partners, Mr. Collins says. * * *
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