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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.

Backtracking on Corporate DEI Commitments Now Is a Mistake, Loretta Lynch and Liza Velazquez Tell Law360

October 20, 2023

Litigation partners Loretta Lynch and Liza Velazquez spoke with Law360 about how the recent Supreme Court decision on affirmative action has created legal confusion for corporate employers and why backtracking on DEI commitments poses potential legal risks for corporations. In “Curbing Workplace DEI Plans Is A Mistake, Ex-AG Lynch Says,” published on October 20, Loretta and Liza discuss how the Supreme Court ruling has impacted corporate DEI programs; why a commitment to diversity should be a priority; the legal risks to consider when scaling back such commitments; and how Paul, Weiss’s dedicated DEI Strategic Advisory Group is helping clients navigate these issues, among other topics.

In the Q+A, the partners note that despite concerns that have arisen since the Supreme Court decision, fostering a diverse workplace has proven time and again to be good for business in a variety of ways.

“It's a business imperative,” Loretta says. “There are so many studies [showing] that now that we have had roughly a business generation of strong support for DEI, you can see that companies who have greater diversity, particularly at the board level and at the senior executive level where decisions are made, do better. They do better financially, they do better in generating strong results for their shareholders.”

The Supreme Court’s June ruling has “spawned a lot of confusion and concern” as to how companies should move forward in this new legal landscape; our DEI Strategic Advisory Group has quickly mobilized to help clients navigate this gray area, the partners say.

“The highest praise that we can receive and what we really look for at the conclusion of the DEI audit is to hear from the client that the solutions that we've offered are practical and actionable, that's really the goal here,” says Liza. “We want to mitigate risk, and we also want to make sure that our client can advance their DEI goals in a way that is practical, efficient and makes sense for them.”

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