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Companies today are caught between demands by stakeholders to set and deliver on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) commitments, and an onslaught of new challenges from litigants, activists, regulators and investors. We help boards, senior executives and in-house counsel safely navigate this increasingly fraught landscape and respond to threats in a manner that mitigates reputational and legal risk and drives long-term success.

Our Practice

Paul, Weiss offers unique advantages in representing companies and boards facing challenges to their DEI-related efforts and in averting or minimizing future liability. Our firm is renowned for helping companies safely resolve reputation- and franchise-threatening crises and litigation, and our core DEI Strategic Advisory Group is led by the lawyers who pioneered among the nation’s first civil rights and racial equity audit practices. The practice is bolstered by a deeply experienced cross-disciplinary team of ESG attorneys and professionals, who likewise pioneered one of the industry’s first dedicated ESG advisory practices.

We offer:

PROACTIVE ASSESSMENTS AND DEI AUDITS: We conduct proactive, tailored DEI audits of policies, practices, and board oversight mechanisms aimed at identifying potential liabilities and risk mitigation strategies. Our focus is on pressure-testing and strengthening governance around such programs and on minimizing risk via holistic pre-crisis reputational counseling.

CRISIS MANAGEMENT: When controversies erupt related to DEI statements or policies, no firm is better placed to help companies and boards manage media, government, stakeholder and litigation exposure to protect brand, operations and reputation.

INVESTIGATIONS: We leverage unparalleled experience in DEI-focused audits, assessments and internal investigations. In the past several years, we have investigated some of the most sensitive employee complaints and whistleblower allegations related to discrimination and retaliation claims, including groundbreaking #MeToo investigations.

LITIGATION DEFENSE: With plaintiffs increasingly taking aim at corporate DEI policies, we offer an unmatched track record of successfully defending companies and boards in response to DEI-related shareholder demands and derivative litigation, including cases of first impression, and in successfully fending off high-stakes discrimination and reverse discrimination claims.

Our DEI Strategic Advisory Group features lawyers with unmatched credibility in the area, including former senior government officials, veteran crisis management advisors, and leading litigators. In a testament to our stature in this area, in the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling in Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina holding that Harvard and the University of North Carolina’s race-conscious admissions policies are unconstitutional, leaders of the practice were asked to co-chair a New York State Bar Association blue-ribbon task force to develop strategies for businesses, drafting a much-anticipated report issued in September.

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