White Quinn Emanuel partner tells Black colleague to up diversity efforts in firm-wide email

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By CJ McKinney on

Lawyers not happy

A London partner at US law firm Quinn Emanuel has reportedly ruffled feathers by sniping at a black colleague’s efforts on diversity.

The unnamed white partner took exception to a shortlist for an arbitration panel circulated by a black counterpart in the US.

According to RollOnFriday, he took to an all-firm email chain to inform 850 Quinn Emanuel lawyers of the “appalling lack of diversity” on the shortlist.

He added that “there are many great women and many ‘less white’ candidates who would profile well against this same white male group”.

In a reply also leaked to the website, the American partner clarified that women were being considered to chair the panel and frostily pointed out that “as a Black attorney in the legal industry, I am keenly aware of the issue”.

An insider reportedly said that the diversity lecture was “unacceptable and shows incredibly poor judgment. It’s a disgrace and lots of people are very angry”.

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In a statement the firm said: “It is true that one of our partners sought firm-wide comments on a shortlist of potential arbitrators, to which another inadvertently caused offence by observing that the list lacked diversity.”

It added:

“The partners in question have spoken and an apology was given for any offence caused. Arising out of that exchange, the two partners have agreed to lead an initiative within the firm to try and ensure that more diverse candidates will be considered for future arbitrator and mediator candidates.”

Earlier this year, Quinn Emanuel ordered its London-based lawyers to stop using “Dear Sirs” in emails, considering the term insensitive. Turns out it’s the contents of the emails they should have been worrying about.

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