Microsoft announced a new program Monday to reward outside counsel for their diversity performance. Under the program, Microsoft's 17 preferred legal providers can be eligible for a 2 percent annual bonus.
Law firms can qualify for the bonus in two ways. First, a firm can increase the hours worked on Microsoft matters by U.S. minority lawyers (including women) by 2 percent. Second, the firm can increase its overall number of U.S. minority attorneys by 0.5 percent.
Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel, said in an interview that Microsoft is committed to this as a “long-term initiative.” “We deal with every aspect of diversity everyday, and we need to reflect that diversity. Ultimately, we think there’s a strong connection between activities like this one and outcomes,” he said.
Microsoft identified nine of its 17 “premier preferred providers.” All nine firms have D.C. offices and include: Arnold & Porter; Covington & Burling; Davis Wright Tremaine; Heller Ehrman; K&L Gates; Perkins Coie; Sullivan & Cromwell; Weil, Gotshal & Manges; and Winston & Strawn.
Update: For more details on the Microsoft initiative, see this story in The National Law Journal.