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Coca-Cola Imposes Racial Quotas On Outside Counsel Staffing

Coca-Cola Imposes Racial Quotas On Outside Counsel Staffing

“at least 30% of each of billed associate and partner time will be from diverse attorneys, and of such amounts at least half will be from Black attorneys.”

Coca-Cola Company is now mandating racial quotas for how its outside law firms staff Coca-Cola work. Not just aspirations to increase diversity, straight out minimums based on race. In the zero sum game of how a limited number of matters are staffed by a limited number of lawyers, that means Coca-Cola is mandating that law firms engage in racism.

Bloomberg Law reports:

The Coca-Cola Company has launched one of the legal industry’s most rigorous outside counsel diversity programs yet, requiring law firms to give a portion of work to Black attorneys specifically and withholding a nonrefundable 30% of fees from those that fail to meet diverse staffing metrics.

The Atlanta-based beverage giant announced the new standards in a Jan. 28 letter to Coca-Cola’s outside firms, obtained by Bloomberg Law.

“We will no longer celebrate good intentions or highly unproductive efforts that haven’t and aren’t likely to produce better diverse staffing,” General Counsel Bradley Gayton wrote. “It’s the results that we are demanding and will measure going forward.”

Coca-Cola is forcing its outside counsel to staff at least 30% of new matters with diverse attorneys, with at least half of that billable time going to Black lawyers in particular. Gayton told Bloomberg Law he hopes to increase the overall diverse billable hour staffing requirement to 50% within the next two years.

The letter (pdf.) provides the following chart spelling out the quotas, including who qualifies as a “diversity” attorney and what the minimum percentages need to be:

Outside counsel commit to providing KO with self-identified diversity data (including American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black, Women, Hispanic/Latinx, LGBTQ+, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander and Persons with Disabilities) for KO’s quarterly analysis of the diversity of teams working on KO matters

* * *

For each new KO matter following the revision to the guidelines (“New Matters”), you commit that at least 30% of each of billed associate and partner time will be from diverse attorneys, and of such amounts at least half will be from Black attorneys. Work performed by diverse attorneys is expected to be accretive to their development and advancement at the firm. These percentages are approximately linked to U.S. Census population data. These minimum commitments will be adjusted over time as U.S. Census data evolves, with an ultimate aspiration that at least 50% of billed associate time and billed partner time will be from diverse attorneys with at least half of that amount from Black attorneys. You will also work to apply the above commitment to our existing matters with your firm.

To show you how woke Coke has become, the Chief Executive uses the term “Latinx,” a term rejected by the vast majority of Latinos. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

James Quincey, the company’s chief executive, last year committed to doubling Coke’s purchases from Black-owned businesses in the United States over five years.

Quincey said in a recent panel discussion that, in terms of diversity, Coke had done well at its board level and “reasonably well” in the executive ranks, but “we need to do much better” in the professional and middle-tier ranks. He also said large companies can influence small companies around them “and help them to live up to the dream.”

Coke has about 240 legal staffers globally, half in the U.S. About half of its U.S. attorneys are white. About 23% are black, 18% are Asian and 10% are Hispanic.

Gayton, the company’s legal chief, said the numbers are “pretty good” but “to be honest with you I want to do better with Hispanic and Latinx.”

Of course law firms are all on board with discriminating among their attorneys, they want the business:

Gayton told that Coca-Cola has already started to preview the program with law firms.

“There’s really broad support for what we’re doing,” he said.

Coke is bragging about and touting the new quotas:

Racial discrimination in employment through the use of quotas is illegal. Coke likely will claim it does not impost quotas, only financial incentives. But those financial incentives are based on racial quota compliance. The law firms may not have even that defense — Coke may be offloading the legal liability onto the law firms which will be required to implement the quotas.

The question is, who has the guts to sue Coke or the law firms? Certainly not the law firms who want the business, or the attorneys who want to continue working at the law firms.


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More of that Good Racism™️.

Taiwanese Lady | January 29, 2021 at 12:20 pm

This is depressingly amazing. “We don’t care if we get the best representative your firm may offer. Have AA attorneys work on our account.”

So much for seeking out the best and the brightest. They’ll just settle for meh as long as the quotas are met.

Just a cost of doing business. Call it the “BLMgeld.”

Coca Cola never changes…they used to have quotas on Jewish people and others using white people as the reason. Now they have the same quotas using black people as the reason. And they think quotas help whom?

I have a small number of KO shares and will probably sell at the next good opportunity. This openly racist staffing might be a part of their current tax problems.

Professor did not highlight the disturbing partner level implications. KO is requiring firms to designate no less than one black person and one other minority as candidates for leading the relationship with KO – ie partnership. KO also appears to be interested in partner compensation and steering their money going to black attorneys. Switch the roles and this initiative would literally be called white supremacy.

Make America Mediocre Again. No need to promote the best and brightest when you can pander.

The Friendly Grizzly | January 29, 2021 at 12:41 pm

I wonder if I could require a law firm to assign me a minimum quota of Jewish attorneys? They ARE the best, you know!

Please, let the lead lawyer be named Jim Crow

El Rushbo just reported that Kevin Clinesmith has been sentenced to 12 months probation.

Now it’s Woke-a Cola.

It seems that if any law firm bases its hiring decisions on Coke’s requirements, it would be illegal. Is there a lawyer anywhere on the planet ethical enough to tell them so?

    UnCivilServant in reply to irv. | January 29, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    One who failed to get hired might sue.

    In fact, I’d count on it.

      I was forced out of a position to make room for POC at major tech company. The race obsessed orgs that do this stuff have enough knives to stab you with, they get away with it.

      In my case there was enough friction between me and the power brokers that I really didn’t care and quit (and left them hanging on a major project by giving zero notice or transition time). It went down like this; The same the diversity candidate they hired for which there was no open position for officially started, the manager called me into her office and told me nobody liked me and I had no future in that position. This was contrary to my mid year review a month earlier and contrary to all the feedback from my major stakeholders. It was also contrary to my reviews for the past 5 years.

      I had grounds to sue for the race based stuff and also for whistle blower status (the few people who did hate me, did so because they were violating company policy and I called bullshit on it and they retaliated). But the reality is that your life is better served just moving on and using your talents elsewhere.

        scooterjay in reply to Andy. | January 29, 2021 at 5:01 pm

        “In my case there was enough friction between me and the power brokers that I really didn’t care and quit (and left them hanging on a major project by giving zero notice or transition time)”

        Going “Galt” is liberating. I did the same at Amazon, but I gave them the “two day” notice….told them I was leaving today!
        Some battles aren’t worth fighting.

          Grrr8 American in reply to scooterjay. | January 29, 2021 at 5:55 pm

          I’m in a similar position — I still have my position, but it’s clear that I will have no promotional opportunities no matter what I do. I can compete on the merits, but I can’t compete with a de facto quota.

          So I’ve “gone Galt” to the extent that I do just what I need to in order to keep my job (since as a White male my prospects for other employment are suppressed as well due to “diversity”).

          But my “employee engagement” and motivation to do more than the minimal required and not be obvious about is, well … rationally adapting to the reality of today’s workplaces.

          I feel sorry for the “diversity hires” that can actually compete on the merits — for though unspoken, most will (rationally because of the system) assume that they can’t compete on the merits.

          This was across the lake from AMZN…

          GRRR8. I actually met the diversity hire. He was capable from the day I spent with him. The bone I have to pick was, there wasn’t a job open on the team unless they kicked me out.

          There are two schools of thought in your situation. You aren’t being forced out, but you won’t get moved up.

          1- There is validity to keeping your seat if the politics aren’t as over the top. You are DISPLACING some SJW from holding that position and further advancing the world into some Ayn Rand novel.

          2- Going Galt and leaving means you believe yourself to be talented and will benefit the world better in some other place.

          I know there’s a million fudds who believe themselves victims because things don’t go their way and my belief is that after 20 years in the industry and my salary level I don’t get to call myself the victim- I should have developed sharper elbows, but equally so I had enough money to fire them two heartbeats before they fired me. Thanks Dave Ramsey. This isn’t the case for everyone.

          It does go to show that this “good racism” will be used in this way and most impacted will not bother to sue. If I did want to work in tech again- I’d be like that guy from Google who called bullshit. Nope- not my job to save the world from itself. I’d be lying if I said wasn’t a wee bit bitter about it though.

This is so odious and vile. And, how the hell is this legal? This kind of overt discrimination, regardless of the glowing phraseology of “Diversity” in which its couched, must violate half a dozen federal labor and anti-discrimination statutes.

    Actually the federal government is where this comes from. If you want to compete for federal contracts, you must be obsessed with diversity. I’ve seen this from the inside of the beast and the federal guidelines are the north star.

    Grrr8 American in reply to guyjones. | January 29, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    As we’ve seen with Democrats (Hillary, FBI officials) vs. the rest of us, there are two systems of justice in this country.

    Discrimination on the basis of race and gender is now official policy, so long as directed against straight, White males — especially if Christian.

    It all harkens back to Herbert Marcuse’s concept of “repressive tolerance” …

Only a viciously evil and hypocritical ideology possesses the brazen gall to present overt and unabashed racism under the euphemistic, self-congratulatory rhetoric of “diversity,” and present it as if it is a laudable and morally upright conceit.

The drink is now known as “Coca-Quota.”

All they’ll achieve is to stigmatize the minority hires professionally because they’ll (hires) be viewed as “there, thanks to the color of their skin” and not on their merit or credentials.
How typically patronizing of liberals who have such noble hearts.

I worked for Coca-Cola in the early 80s in Atlanta and at the time they were at the forefront of promoting homosexuality and, I found out the hard way that hell hath no furry like a homosexual scorned. I concluded they jumped on the “rainbow band wagon” out of fear of being boycotted. Think about it, their main product is carbonated, caramel flavored bottled water with a little fizz and it can easily be replaced with something else.

This new policy doesn’t surprise me in the least. The company will forever be politically correct.

    Geologist in reply to Liberty. | January 29, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    From the ’70s, I insisted on Coke, not Pepsi, because of the two companies trade polices regarding the Middle East. Recently, I have switched most of my pop consumption to tea. At 1:00 p.m., I am about to brew my fourth cuppa’ of the day. Now, this is a reason to avoid Coke and its related products.

    henrybowman in reply to Liberty. | January 30, 2021 at 3:56 am

    “Think about it, their main product is carbonated, caramel flavored bottled water with a little fizz and it can easily be replaced with something else.”

    Even carbonated, caramel flavored bottled water with a little fizz made by somebody else.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Liberty. | January 30, 2021 at 11:12 am

    I’d like to offer some perspective. I happen to be homosexual. The only reason I mention it here is to give context to my comments; I do not live and breathe based on my sexuality.

    A lot of companies make a lot of noise about “diversity ad inclusiveness”. Some of them even have various company-supported organizations. Lesbian organizations, homosexual organizations, organizations for black people. All of them sponsored by the company. To those who are concerned with such things it looks real good at first glance.

    I always felt that to be a member of some organization like this within the company is career suicide. Say, for example, I worked for Company Corporation Inc., and they had a gay or lesbian club with the company. I would no more have joined than fly to the moon.

    The reason being, is it still upper management makes decisions on who gets promoted. I don’t think that in the era while I was working, that they were going to “promote some faggot“ into a plum position. Even if they did, I would be wondering: did they promote me as window dressing? Or did they promote before the capabilities I possess? I would rather it be the latter.

    Yeah, if the company had an amateur radio club, computer club, or a group of musicians, I would definitely join. Common interests, and upper management might give you a ham or a computer geek as someone worthy to move into a technical position.

This is going to end badly. Coke just laid down a marker that it is totes ok to hire based upon ‘racial’ data from the Census. In fact they are mandating it. Very dangerous road.

Ok so will Coke be looking to use their power in GA to ensure that public employees are also reflected according to the Census data?

How about their affiliates? How about the stores that sell their products? The folks who stock vending machines?

Oh who will validate the data provided by each person? Does Coke seek a DNA test? If not why not?

Certainly someone at Coke should be familiar with the very public examples of some prominent people who misrepresented their ‘race’ to qualify for certain programs or to otherwise advanced their career. If Coke is unwilling to have each persons DNA independently verified by a third party then isn’t Coke tacitly endorsing the deceit of these high profile folks.

This is the worst idea since new Coke. Walk it back while you can.

Going to try and keep things simple: From here on out my firm is going to mandate that all outside counsel be THE BEST legal counsel they have to offer. Period.

How many “black” attorneys are their in Alaska, Idaho or Maine. Good luck if you need an law firm in a state like that.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to buck61. | January 29, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    There will be a sufficient supply if the housing and urban development people have that affirmative housing thing come back. Coming to a neighborhood near you: black lawyers!

    Geologist in reply to buck61. | January 29, 2021 at 4:10 pm

    I know of ONE very good black attorney in Los Angeles. He was hired by one of the top mega law firms in the country, making a fortune.

    I knew several mediocre black attorneys in L.A., who were courted by and snatched up by other of the major law firms based strictly on their skin color. Any black lawyer who can pass the Bar Exam is prized for his or her diversity credentials, regardless of quality or attitude or work ethic. There are not enough of them to satisfy the diversity requirements of the laws firms.

    JimWoo in reply to buck61. | January 29, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    Cant blacks do anything on their own merits? Do we have to give them everything? Oh wait I forgot about the nfl, nba and rap music.

“These aren’t racial quotas because shut up, racist!”

Coke is judging lawyers not by their legal expertise, but by the color of their skins.

Maybe they can hire Shaun “Talcum X” King and Rachael Dolezal.
That would fe fun!

By the way, I always found it interesting that Jews don’t qualify as a “Diverse” group, under contemporary diversity standards. I get that religious affiliations aren’t included, but, technically, if you go back to antiquity, Jews were a distinct ethnic group, as much as a religious group. And, Jews are much more of a “minority,” and, far more historically persecuted, than either Hispanics or Asians, both of which are included.

Whatever; this entire tribal Balkanization by the Dhimmi-crats is noxious and should be rejected.

    Geologist in reply to guyjones. | January 29, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    Jews are of African descent.

    They were slaves in Egypt for hundreds of years — check out the Passover holiday. How long does a people have to lived in Africa to be considered “African”?

      henrybowman in reply to Geologist. | January 30, 2021 at 4:02 am

      Funny you should choose that argument. Blacks were also slaves in the New World for hundreds of years. And yet they still insist on being classed as “Africans,” not simply Americans.

      Milhouse in reply to Geologist. | January 31, 2021 at 2:00 am

      1. They were in Egypt for 210 years, but that entire time they were identified, both by themselves and by the Egyptians, as foreigners from Iraq (“the other side of the Euphrates”). So no, they were never Egyptians.

      2. In any case, for this purpose Egyptians don’t count as “African”.

    Milhouse in reply to guyjones. | January 31, 2021 at 1:57 am

    technically, if you go back to antiquity, Jews were a distinct ethnic group, as much as a religious group.

    That’s just a bizarre statement. You don’t have to go to antiquity. Jews are a distinct ethnic group, not a religious group. Being a Jew doesn’t depend in any way on what a person believes. And in fact most Jews in the USA don’t keep or even recognize the authority of Jewish law, and don’t believe in the principles of the Jewish religion.

    Jews aren’t a religion, we’re a nation that has a religion. Jewish nationality works much like US citizenship: you can get it by birth, or by naturalization. Naturalization requires that you convince the officials who consider your application that you believe certain things, but once you’ve been naturalized you’re a citizen regardless of whether you continue to believe those things. And if you got your nationality by birth it doesn’t matter what you believe.

Hope they bring back “New Coke”.
I was thinking that, since African-Americans are forever whining about being associated with coke, they could rename it “Cracka-Cola” to more accurately represent their new “wokeness”. Focus groups rejected that name as it hurt their feels and reminded them of their time on the plantation.

    henrybowman in reply to scooterjay. | January 30, 2021 at 4:04 am

    Too ambiguous. After all, Coca Cola got its name from the cocaine in the original recipe. So releasing a product with “crack” in the name may have two orthogonal racial vibes.

If a customer sexually harasses an employee, the employer is legally liable to stop it or face consequences. How does that differ from what Coke is demanding? It’s literally requiring law firms to discriminate on the basis of race, gender and a host of other protected classes.

new coke fsiled, looks like failure #2 in 2021

    henrybowman in reply to buck61. | January 30, 2021 at 4:07 am

    My first thought upon reading the article was that the people behind New Coke are probably celebrating, because the douche who dreamed up this policy just took the corporate All-Time Awshit award away from them.

If one agrees to hire an attorney for a certain fee then demands the fee be lowered because of melanin issues would that not be breach of contract? If the ABA was not so out to lunch on such issues I would be looking for a breach of ethics complaint against this Quota Cola kid.

Is it too early for an R.C. cola meme?

Equality 7-2521 | January 29, 2021 at 2:35 pm

Never in my life would I have thought that Dr King’s call to “one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” would be deemed ‘racist’…

Progressivism and current liberalism are indeed both a mental disorder…

When Coke start losing court cases because they hired on the basis of skin color or sex instead of their merits, they’ll change their tune.

    Lucifer Morningstar in reply to gwsjr425. | January 29, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    No, they won’t. Because to “change their tune” would mean they had made a mistake in implementing this “diversity program” and that blacks couldn’t handle the work. So nope. Even in the face of utter failure they won’t change their minds at this point. And really, can you see Grayton do that? I can’t. He’ll just run it into the ground and then blame whitey for its failure.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to gwsjr425. | January 29, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you for using the term “sex”. Not “gender”.

    JRaeL in reply to gwsjr425. | January 29, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    You just made me aware of a work around. You see in Georgia and many other states below the Mason-Dixon line “coke” is used as a generic word for all sodas. You have your onge coke. You have your grep coke. You even have your Pepsi coke. The thing you put peanuts in is Co-cola. So if “Mr. Ain’t I Just So Dayum Smart,Bless His Heart” lawyer asks if a firm has enough diverse staff working on a coke account as long as they are billing hours for any flavored carbonated beverage client it’s all good.

thalesofmiletus | January 29, 2021 at 2:53 pm

“Racism is OK when WE do it!”

Lucifer Morningstar | January 29, 2021 at 3:28 pm

Coca-Cola Company is now mandating racial quotas for how its outside law firms staff Coca-Cola work.

Perhaps I’m being too much of a cynic here but I can’t really see the problem. The “outside law firms” should just simply dump all the black attorneys the have on staff onto Coca-Cola™ Inc. related cases thus freeing up the rest of the staff to work on the more important cases that they might have on the books. Grayton gets his “diversity” and the outside law firms can have their better lawyers working on other things. It’s a win, win all around.

    But those law firms do not have sufficient black/diverse attorneys to bill 30% of the work. The law firms will probably have Sam Levine still do the work, but bill under under the name Leroy Washington, and sign the letters and pleadings as good old Leroy.

      Lucifer Morningstar in reply to Geologist. | January 29, 2021 at 7:31 pm

      Still not a problem. Just hire all those shiny new affirmative action black lawyers newly graduated from law school and then dump them on any KO cases as needed to fulfill both the minority quota and the billing percentages. Doesn’t sound like KO is concerned if they win the cases and or have legal matters completed properly so it shouldn’t matter if they do things correctly. Just that they have the proper mix of minorities and billing to satisfy Grayton and his twisted policy.

Well, another brand I’ll abandon. Make mine a Pepsi from here on it!

If Coca Cola wants crappy lawyers, that’s their business. But my guess is they’ll relegate their affirmative action hires to doing stupid things that one would relegate a dumbass relative you’re stuck employing.

What’s sad for the affirmative action is that despite any real ability they have, they’re forever marked as affirmative action hires.

Would you hire anyone with that resume?

Maybe it’s time to short Coca-Cola 😉

Some clients, you just don’t need.

Next up, Coca-Cola should release “Black Coke” — to be sold exclusively to black Americans.

Diversity sociopolitics.

This won’t last long. All the rich white liberals that compose the vast bulk of large law firms will freak out. This happened in Seattle when the Asian Bar Association called out large law firms. They shut down that talk quickly and then blackballed the leader who produced the study. He was quietly let go by his law firm and forced to move to California to a less prestigious job.

No wonder law school deans want to do away with bar exams — firms will need a lot more minority lawyers soon. Big Law snaps up the top (and even mediocre) grads, and there aren’t going to be enough minority lawyers if every company imposes these conditions, so the supply must be increased even at the cost of quality. As an aside, no more Coke products for this retired lawyer.

Time for the Gameplay warriors to make more money.

This guy needs a math lesson. 50% of 50%, which he says is aspirational is 25%. Blacks were 13% of america’s population a century ago. Now they are 14%. With easy access to abortion they won’t get to 25% of the population for several hundred years.

Comanche Voter | January 30, 2021 at 2:10 pm

Well in a lot of law firms these days, meeting the initial “diversity” requirement won’t be a problem since it includes women. If you’ve looked at law school classes since say 1980 half or more of the students are female. The Black requirement is a bit harder to meet based on the available pool of students.

honestly, the guy in the header photo is dressed like a toilet attendant–lord