Company: General Mills
Innovation: Partners in Diversity
Date Introduced: 2008
Award Recognition: Award of Excellence

General Mills’ initiative, referred to as the Partners in Diversity, assesses diversity at outside law firms and directs spending to those firms which share a commitment to diversity.

On a biannual basis, outside law firms are asked to complete a survey similar to MCCA/Vault’s diversity questionnaire.

In addition to tracking the demographic representation of women and ethnic minorities in the partner and associate ranks, the survey tracks associate development, recruitment, retention, and other issues relevant to diversity. They also ask firms for diversity demographics for paralegals and administrative assistants, data on the firms’ spending with minority- and women-owned businesses, and the percentage of General Mills’ legal work performed by minorities.

They leverage survey results to place outside law firms into one of four ranking tiers. Firms in the top two tiers represent approximately 75 percent of legal spending in the U.S. The top tier are given priority consideration for legal work and may be selected for special partnership opportunities with General Mills. The bottom two tiers must improve performance or risk losing their relationship with General Mills. Firms in the bottom tier can expect to see their business with General Mills decrease.