Five of America’s top law firms operate diversity programs that exclude white applicants or explicitly favor minorities, creating what experts say is a target rich environment for conservative litigants seeking to press the advantage in the wake of the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling.

Morrison & Foerster and Perkins Coie were sued last month over their minority-only fellowships. But other white-shoe law firms, including Wachtell LiptonWinston & StrawnBaker McKenzieSidley Austin, and Susman Godfrey, also use racial criteria to dispense professional opportunities, from paid internships to mentoring programs to cash awards, meaning that the outcome of the case could reverberate broadly throughout the legal profession. The firms are some of the most prestigious in the country and routinely top the lists of elite law firm rankings.