States’ attorneys general warn law firms on diversity hiring: ‘Terminate unlawful race-based quotas’

Attorneys general from six states have sent a letter to the nation’s top 100 law firms warning them about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices that could violate the law.


Attorneys general from six states have sent a letter to the nation’s top 100 law firms warning them about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices that could violate the law.

The Republican AGs, led by Austin Knudsen of Montana, reminded firms that any differentiated treatment on the basis of race is illegal, reported Fox News.

“As Attorneys General, it is incumbent upon us to remind all entities operating within our respective jurisdictions of the binding nature of American anti-discrimination laws,” Knudsen and the other AGs wrote in the letter, according to Fox. “If your law firm previously resorted to racial preferences or naked quotas, that path is now definitively closed.”

The letter follows June’s landmark ruling in which the U.S. Supreme Court declared race-based admissions policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina unconstitutional

“We advise you to immediately terminate any unlawful race-based quotas or preferences that your firm has adopted for its employment and contracting practices,” the letter added.  

The letter follows a similar warning to Fortune 100 companies by attorneys general in 12 states that the companies could face legal action if they continue race-based quotas in their DEI programs.  

“Responsible corporations interested in supporting underprivileged individuals and communities can find many lawful outlets to do so. But drawing crude lines based on skin color is not a lawful outlet, and it hurts more than it helps,” said the letter, according to   

Microsoft, Apple, Google, Uber, Netflix, TikTok and Facebook were some of the firms whose practices were mentioned by the AGs as meriting investigation, according to the Atlanta Black Star.  

In July, the law firm Nixon Peabody advised clients they have to change their DEI practices to comply with the high court’s decision. 

“Specific initiatives … will likely need to evolve in light of the Supreme Court’s rationale and the anticipated legal challenges that will inevitably follow,” said the advisory by the law firm.  

One strategy that Nixon Peabody recommended was to recruit on the basis of something other than skin color to ensure meeting DEI goals, “such as prior work history, educational background, and socio-economic factors.”  

The letter to the Fortune 100 companies stressed that, while social mobility was an admirable goal, doing it on the basis of skin color was reprehensible and illegal.  

“Social mobility is essential for the long-term viability of a democracy, and our leading institutions should continue to provide opportunities to underprivileged Americans,” the letter reads, according to a copy supplied by Just The News. “Race, though, is a poor proxy for what is fundamentally a class distinction.” 

In March, Knudsen also led a coalition of 21 states in warning 53 banks about their “woke” environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment policies. The letter reminded investment managers of their obligation to protect their clients’ interests first.  

“You are … not only bound to follow the general laws discussed above but also have extensive responsibilities under both federal and state laws governing securities,” said the letter, according to the Daily Mail. “Broadly, those laws require you to act as a fiduciary, in the best interests of your clients and exercising due care and loyalty.”  

In addition to Knudsen, attorneys general Brenna Bird of Iowa, Tim Griffin of Arkansas, Kris Kobach of Kansas, Daniel Cameron of Kentucky and Todd Rokita of Indiana also signed the letter sent to the law firms, reported Fox News.