Highlights from Bloomberg Law’s Black GC Project

February 8, 2021

2021’s first don’t-miss legal media series is Bloomberg Law’s Black General Counsel Project, which features 39 Black legal chiefs from Fortune 1000 companies. Gathering insights from these leaders, the interviews delve into the GCs’ criteria for choosing outside firms, their thoughts on the status of equity and inclusion in the industry, what they wish they had known earlier in their careers and how their work has changed during the pandemic.

Some highlights:

“ . . . [W]e have recently decided to be even more intentional about how we use diversity in evaluating our outside law firms and allocating our legal spend. We’ve take a baseline of the percentage of our legal spend that went to women or minority-owned firms and/or to diverse law firm partners . . . going forward we intend to set annual targets . . .”

Akin Harrison, TEGNA

“Everyone talks about diversity and inclusion but to me, the critical third piece is belonging. We need to make sure that Black lawyers are valued, their opinions are sought after, and they feel they belong. Belonging includes thoughtful consideration to how work is assigned, who is getting origination and relationship credits, and the care and resources that go into bespoke actionable development plans.”

Bradley Gayton, Coca-Cola

“When engaging outside counsel, we look to partner with firms that share our longstanding commitment to inclusion and diversity. . . We believe that diverse teams — and that’s diversity across many dimensions — give us an advantage in coming up with the very best solutions to the often complex issues and matters we handle.” 

Phillip Rollock, TIAA

“Exceptionally smart and hard-working Black GCs have been tapped from some of the premier law firms and companies across the country. …Smart and business-savvy Black lawyers have opted out of private law firms because of many of the environmental issues that make surviving and thriving in a law firm more difficult for Black lawyers.”

Sharon Barner, Cummins Inc.


Check out the entire series here