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Opponent of affirmative action withdraws lawsuit against law firm due to diversity fellowship.

Anti-Affirmative Action Group Drops Lawsuit Over Law Firm’s Diversity Fellowship


A group led by a prominent anti-affirmative action activist has decided to drop a lawsuit against a U.S. law firm over its diversity fellowship program. The American Alliance for Equal Rights, founded by Edward Blum, initially challenged Perkins Coie’s fellowship program for allegedly excluding certain individuals based on their race. However, after the firm revised its application criteria to include all law students, Blum’s group agreed to dismiss the case.

A Step Towards Inclusivity

Perkins Coie, a global law firm with over 1,200 lawyers, modified its diversity fellowship program by allowing all law students to apply, irrespective of their racial background. This change prompted the American Alliance for Equal Rights to drop its lawsuit. While this particular case has been resolved, Blum expressed hope that other law firms with similar programs would also adopt inclusive measures to avoid potential legal action.

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Commitment to Diversity

Bill Malley, the managing partner of Perkins Coie, welcomed the resolution of the case and reiterated the firm’s unwavering commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Major law firms have long faced challenges in recruiting people of color, and the firm’s diversity fellowship program aimed to address this issue.

Increasing Representation

Blum’s lawsuit against Perkins Coie and another law firm, Morrison & Foerster, highlighted their diversity fellowship programs, which were designed to support the recruitment of individuals from historically underrepresented groups. These paid fellowships aimed to increase the representation of people of color within the firms, as statistics show that only 11.4% of partners in major U.S. law firms are people of color.

Expanding Opportunities

Blum’s group dropped its lawsuit against Morrison & Foerster after the firm removed language that limited the fellowship program to specific racial or ethnic groups. This change opened the program to a wider range of applicants, promoting a more inclusive environment within the firm.

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Legal Background

The American Alliance for Equal Rights based its lawsuit on a Civil War-era law that prohibits racial bias in contracting, arguing that the fellowship program violated this law. Blum’s group also challenged venture capital firm Fearless Fund’s grant program for Black women-led businesses, using the same law as a basis for their legal action.

Promoting Equality

Edward Blum’s advocacy organizations have been active in challenging race-conscious policies in various sectors. In a landmark ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected such policies in college admissions cases involving Harvard and the University of North Carolina. The dismissal of the lawsuit against Perkins Coie and Morrison & Foerster represents another step in Blum’s efforts to promote equality and fairness.

By addressing the concerns raised in the lawsuit, Perkins Coie and Morrison & Foerster have taken positive steps towards creating more inclusive environments within their firms. The revisions to their diversity fellowship programs aim to provide equal opportunities for all law students and contribute to a more diverse legal profession.

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