Differentiating Diversity Goals From Quotas In The Legal Profession

“This morning, I woke up / Feeling brand new, I jumped up / Feeling my highs and my lows / In my soul and my goals.”Talib Kweli

Last week, I wrote about McKinsey & Company’s 2015 Diversity Matters Report. In my post, I wrote diversity-300x199that to foster a successful diversity program, McKinsey recommends for an organization to: i) create a clear value proposition for having a diverse and inclusive culture; and ii) set a few clear targets (not quotas) that balance complexity with cohesiveness.

Several readers have asked me, what the difference is between goals and quotas? Is it possible for a law firm to share clear numerical targets that would not be considered quotas? In the public education arena, Carnegie Mellon University has stated:

Are affirmative action goals merely targets that the university should aim for, or are they really inflexible hiring quotas that must be met—even if it means hiring women or minorities over equally or better qualified others?

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