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Novartis Demands Outside Counsel Make Tough Diversity Guarantees

February 13, 2020 / Sam Skolnik

Novartis AG is demanding that its 22 “preferred” Big Law firms make specific diverse staffing commitments for each engagement with the pharma giant or face punishment in the form of reduced payments. Through the new program announced on Wednesday, Novartis is also requiring its outside counsel to commit that at least 30% of billable associate time and 20% of partner time will be provided by women, racially or ethnically diverse professionals, or members of the LGBT community. If firms don’t meet their agreed-upon staffing commitments on particular matters, the Basel, Switzerland-based company will withhold 15% of the total amount billed over the life of that matter, it said in a statement.