On Wednesday of this week, a guy named Craig Leen — Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs in the Department of Labor — showed up in Manhattan to hold a “town hall” meeting with representatives of major law firms. The event was covered at law.com here, and then commented on by Paul Mirengoff at Power Line here. The headline of the law.com piece is “Government Warns Law Firms of Consequences for Diversity Failures.” Mirengoff characterizes the DOL’s effort as “seek[ing] to impose a radical diversity agenda on law firms.”
The gist of Leen’s presentation was that you guys have a big problem here that you need to “fix,” or there will be consequences. From law.com:
Craig Leen . . . told industry representatives at a town hall meeting in New York that the scarcity of women and minorities at firms in leading roles has been noted by the office, and it will be taking a closer look. Leen said in a brief interview after the meeting that “there is evidence of low representation at law firms and financial firms, and our goal is to fix it and work with them to do so." . . . Leen said during Wednesday's meeting that the office looks at systemic issues, “and we are seeing serious issues.”
So what’s your game plan, Craig? The law.com article describes Leen making veiled threats of cutting off federal contracts for firms that don’t meet some unstated targets. He made these remarks to the right group, since there is no collection of people more filled with a deep sense of guilt over their success than major law firm leaders. On the other hand, since federal contracts are a very small part of the business of major law firms, the chance of Leen’s threat having any meaningful effect is about zero.
But more important, what are the “serious” and “systemic” issues that Leen claims to be seeing? . . .Read More