Racial Diversity, Law Firm Economics, civil rights, Mansfield Rule


There is an eternal temptation to think that if one recognizes a moral problem and does something about it, then one is blameless even if the action taken does not solve the problem. We usually recognize that it is absurd to credit intent when the disconnect from results is vast—consider the rightfully mocked tendency of people to respond to tragedies by declaring that their “thoughts and prayers” are with the victims rather than taking any meaningful step to ameliorate their suffering. People still engage in such posturing because the behavior benefits them in several ways: (a) others see that the actor is doing something and think the actor is moral, and (b) the actor can assuage her own conscience by having done something. But declared good intent divorced from positive consequences is no virtue, and if it goes on long enough with the full knowledge of the actor, it turns into vice.