Bravo to Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice and Molden Holley Fergusson Thompson & Heard for their ingenious alliance to create and market diversity.
Molden Holley is a small and new African-American firm comprised of partners who came from major firms. In what appears to be a brilliant win-win alliance, this new firm will continue to be independent but will bolt on all of the resources of AmLaw powerhouse Womble Carlyle when and as required; meanwhile, Womble Carlyle gets to demonstrate to clients like Wal-Mart and Sara Lee that it is listening to their General Counsel who have been requiring all of their legal providers to make rapid diversity progress.
(For further particulars on those diversity requirements, see my post titled: Law Firms as “Exclusive Clubs for White Men”)
PUNCHLINE: While other firms may not yet have diversity on their radar screens and while those who do are likely progressing slowly and in a linear fashion, these two firms are hitting warp speed.
The most fascinating part of this story is yet to unfold. It’s the marketing initiative (contained in this quote from the complete story in Small Firm Business referenced below):
“Regina S. Molden, the managing partner for Molden Holley, said members of the two firms will meet monthly to develop a marketing strategy targeted towards existing and potential Womble Carlyle clients seeking more diversity.”
WOW! Imagine the potential here. This is not smoke and mirrors but rather a very real capacity to provide diversity to clients IF those diversity-demanding clients are prepared to accept that the alliance is genuine and truly fulfills the spirit of their diversity requirements.
Whichever firm initiated the idea, it is an illustration of strategic genius especially if it works. If it does, it will be a pattern worth emulating.
For a more particulars, see the full story filed by Meredith Hobbs in the Fulton County Daily Report on July 29th as published in Small Firm Business: Big Firm Partners With Minority-Owned Boutique to Increase Diversity