Doing Bad by Doing Good: Managing Risks Surrounding Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives at Law Firms

Program Number: 2877

Program Date: 12/04/2018


Corporations are selecting law firms that have active diversity and inclusion initiatives, and are working less with law firms that do not have verifiable programs enhancing the diversity of their law firms. In fact, Hewlett Packard (HP) states that they may withhold up to 10 percent of invoiced fees for failure to meet HP’s diversity standards. Specifically, HP requires firms to “field (i) at least one diverse firm relationship partner, regularly engaged with HP on billing and staffing issues; or (ii) at least one woman and one racially/ethnically diverse attorney, each performing or managing at least 10% of the billable hours worked on HP matters.” In order to obtain work from larger companies that support increased diversity, many law firms have created diversity initiatives in order to meet the diversity requirements of these major corporations. Thus, a law firm, which doing good, must be aware of the risks associated with enhancing the diversity of their law firm.
For example, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has “established substantive area priorities and set forth strategies to integrate all components of EEOC's private, public, and federal sector enforcement to have a sustainable impact in advancing equal opportunity and freedom from discrimination in the workplace.” The EEOC often performs systemic discrimination investigations and law firms must study their recruitment and hiring practices to minimize risks and determine whether there are any issues that may be a red flag for the EEOC. In addition, law firms must be aware that any documents such as a diversity audit generated to “minimize risks” may be evidence in an EEOC action or litigation. Likewise, there are legal risks associated with diversity training programs, and law firms must carefully scrutinize any trainers that are brought in to avoid a potential lawsuit.
This program will highlight the proper way to perform a diversity audit to potentially protect the law firm’s documents from the EEOC and Plaintiff’s lawyers. In addition, this program will review case law where companies have been exposed to lawsuits as a result of the actions of outside consultants hired to perform diversity training. The program will also provide strategies to avoid risk, while at the same time promoting diversity and reducing exposure should a law firm face litigation.

$95.00Audio CD Add to Cart $95.00Online Audio Add to Cart

Available in states

California, Colorado Eligible, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey Eligible, New York, New York - Experienced Attorneys Only, Texas Self Study

Credit Information

50 minute credit hour - 1.0 Diversity, Inclusion and EOB CLE credit, based on a 50-minute credit hour
60 minute credit hour - 1.0 Diversity, Inclusion and EOB CLE credit, based on a 60-minute credit hour

State Program Numbers

Credit Eligible for Experienced Attorneys Only in NY


Kenneth E. Sharperson, Esq.

Weber Gallagher LLP

Kenneth Sharperson is an attorney in the Insurance/Reinsurance group in Weber Gallagher’s Bedminster, New Jersey office. Mr. Sharperson serves as national counsel for clients in sophisticated insurance coverage litigation and commercial litigation matters before federal and state trial and appellate courts. Mr. Sharperson has worked with a wide variety of insurance companies on issues related to the duty to defend, bad faith, number of occurrences, allocation and notice and trigger of coverage. He also has handled the defense of claims related to D&O insurance matters, mass tort and environmental issues, media, technology and cyber liability, residual value insurance, financial institution bonds, errors and omissions, employment practices liability insurance, property insurance and professional liability matters.

Prior to joining Weber Gallagher, Mr. Sharperson was associated with a law firm focused exclusively on the representation of policyholders in complex insurance coverage disputes. Mr. Sharperson also has served as a Trademark Examining Attorney at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Mr. Sharperson is not only dedicated to his corporate clients; he also is committed to pro bono work.

While attending Rutgers Law School in Newark, Mr. Sharperson was a Senior Editor of the Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal, served as a faculty-appointed Legal Research and Writing Instructor and was elected President of the Student Bar Association. After law school, Mr. Sharperson served as a law clerk to the Honorable John E. Wallace, Jr. of the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division.

In 2009, Mr. Sharperson was selected to the New Jersey Law Journal’s Top 40 under 40 and was recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2012.

In 2012, Mr. Sharperson was selected and participated in the American Arbitration Association’s A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. Fellows Program, which provides provide training, mentorship and networking opportunities to up and coming diverse alternative dispute resolution professionals who have historically not been included in meaningful participation in the field of alternative dispute resolution.

Mr. Sharperson was a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association Board of Trustees from 2010-2016 and also served as the co-chair of the Diversity Committee from 2010-2016.

“State Bar Launches Leadership Academy”, Diversity Committee Newsletter,Vol. 1, No. 1 — May 2015
"Deposition and Witness Preparation Tips Learned from The Office”, Section on Litigation- Minority Trial Lawyer (2012)

"Managing Risks Around Diversity and Inclusing in Law Firms", New Jersey Lawyer - August 2018

"Diversity and Inclusion and In-House and Law Firm Management", IADC Committee Newsleter - November 2017