Firm Life for an URM

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
BeautifulDidem
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Firm Life for an URM

Postby BeautifulDidem » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:16 pm

What is it like to work in a firm of over 150 attorneys, where there are only a handful of minorities (particularly black people)?

I am black so I would like to hear any first hand accounts of what it is like for you.

Do you find it difficult to relate to your coworkers? Do you encounter any prejudice's or racism? Do you feel less motivated to stick around for partnership?

Thanks you for taking your time to reply :)

blackandstrong
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby blackandstrong » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:47 am

You may get more responses in the "Ask a Law Student/Graduate" forum.

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BlaqBella
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby BlaqBella » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:03 pm

BeautifulDidem wrote:What is it like to work in a firm of over 150 attorneys, where there are only a handful of minorities (particularly black people)?

I am black so I would like to hear any first hand accounts of what it is like for you.

Do you find it difficult to relate to your coworkers? Do you encounter any prejudice's or racism? Do you feel less motivated to stick around for partnership?

Thanks you for taking your time to reply :)


As someone who worked at a V20 firm with over 501+ lawyers with only a handful of black attorneys it has been my observation that you will have to work twice/thrice as hard to get the same respect as most of your non-URM counterparts. My firm had only one black partner in its NY office and he sat down the hall from me. He was in the office around the clock compared to the other partners who came and went whenever they felt the need. He had a lot to prove and its never an easy battle, especially if you're the token black partner.

I will say that for most of the black attorneys I worked with, they can tell you that they did encounter passive-aggressive racism or were overlooked for assignments. To prevent this from being habitual, make yourself VISIBLE (ie go to someone's office and ask for an assignment if you have to, call around, etc.). You need to be SEEN to have any rate of survival in BIGLAW.

For those black attorneys I know who have been at a law firm for a few years and counting, they relayed it is all about proving yourself from day one. If you're asked to take on an assignment even when you had something planned (vacation included)...TAKE IT. Be proactive and always available. Also, ask for feedback. This is NOT the environment to be timid. It is brutally cutthroat and you need to be just as much cutthroat as your colleagues.

Also, stick with the late night crew. They are often the ones who are always busy and if they realize you're around too, those observations can turn into your name being suggested to take on a project. The environment is political and you need senior colleagues to advocate for you (ie senior associates).

That's all I have for now. But overrall, the first year is all about proving yourself for many would judge your potential on the basis of your skin color or the assumption that you were an affirmative action hire.

icanbeohyes
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby icanbeohyes » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:32 am

I would be interested to hear about firm life from a URM woman's POV.

RodneyRuxin
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby RodneyRuxin » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:43 am

You also may get more responses if you use the title "Firm life for a URM"

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Rahviveh
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby Rahviveh » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:42 pm

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Last edited by Rahviveh on Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BruceWayne
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby BruceWayne » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:47 pm

BlaqBella wrote:As someone who worked at a V20 firm with over 501+ lawyers with only a handful of black attorneys it has been my observation that you will have to work twice/thrice as hard to get the same respect as most of your non-URM counterparts. My firm had only one black partner in its NY office and he sat down the hall from me. He was in the office around the clock compared to the other partners who came and went whenever they felt the need. He had a lot to prove and its never an easy battle, especially if you're the token black partner.

I will say that for most of the black attorneys I worked with, they can tell you that they did encounter passive-aggressive racism or were overlooked for assignments. To prevent this from being habitual, make yourself VISIBLE (ie go to someone's office and ask for an assignment if you have to, call around, etc.). You need to be SEEN to have any rate of survival in BIGLAW.

For those black attorneys I know who have been at a law firm for a few years and counting, they relayed it is all about proving yourself from day one. If you're asked to take on an assignment even when you had something planned (vacation included)...TAKE IT. Be proactive and always available. Also, ask for feedback. This is NOT the environment to be timid. It is brutally cutthroat and you need to be just as much cutthroat as your colleagues.

Also, stick with the late night crew. They are often the ones who are always busy and if they realize you're around too, those observations can turn into your name being suggested to take on a project. The environment is political and you need senior colleagues to advocate for you (ie senior associates).

That's all I have for now. But overrall, the first year is all about proving yourself for many would judge your potential on the basis of your skin color or the assumption that you were an affirmative action hire.


That was great and it coincides with everything I've ever heard from Black attorneys working in biglaw.

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paratactical
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby paratactical » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:51 pm

BlaqBella wrote:make yourself VISIBLE (ie go to someone's office and ask for an assignment if you have to, call around, etc.). You need to be SEEN to have any rate of survival in BIGLAW.

For those black attorneys I know who have been at a law firm for a few years and counting, they relayed it is all about proving yourself from day one. If you're asked to take on an assignment even when you had something planned (vacation included)...TAKE IT. Be proactive and always available. Also, ask for feedback. This is NOT the environment to be timid. It is brutally cutthroat and you need to be just as much cutthroat as your colleagues.

Also, stick with the late night crew. They are often the ones who are always busy and if they realize you're around too, those observations can turn into your name being suggested to take on a project. The environment is political and you need senior colleagues to advocate for you (ie senior associates).

I just wanted to say that this advice is not just for URMs, this is good advice for anyone working in biglaw.

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Justin Genious
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby Justin Genious » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:31 pm

RodneyRuxin wrote:You also may get more responses if you use the title "Firm life for a URM"

Disagreed.

http://www.gpuss.co.uk/english_usage/a_or_an.htm

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BlaqBella
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby BlaqBella » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:22 am

ChampagnePapi wrote:What about for other minorities, like Hispanics?


The same holds true for Hispanic attorneys.

I also wanted to add another tidbit that remains relevant specifically for URM attorneys:

Avoid secluding yourself. Often times you find the social circles of URM associates heavily or exclusively that of other URMs. This can be career suicide. Make sure to expand your horizons and invite or take an invitation to lunch or a social outing with non-URM colleagues. Mingle at those holiday parties and introduce yourself to other attorneys outside your group. Just don't be boxed in as the URM attorney who doesn't know how to be friendly. Colleagues can easily feel slighted or try to use any excuse to keep you from advancing (ie "oh, s/he lacks interpersonal skills"..."well, s/he doesn't seem to be someone who can work in a group setting", etc.).

Be very aware of how you are perceived. Everything you do is observed in a firm setting and you can easily be blacklisted by one or two mis-steps.

Also, learn the ins and out of a sport or be willing to learn a sport. NFL, college basketball, soccer, tennis and golf seem to be the most popular. Many firms often have pool competitions or sport competitions within the firm or with clients. You'd be surprised how being active in these types of competitions can help advance your career. It's all about being social both within and outside the firm. I seldom see URMs involve in these type of things.

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somewhatwayward
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby somewhatwayward » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:31 am

icanbeohyes wrote:I would be interested to hear about firm life from a URM woman's POV.


If you want to work in a firm like the one OP is talking about, don't go to GWU! 20-25% chance of working in a firm of more than 100 lawyers or getting a federal clerkship that could lead to working in a firm

thederangedwang
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby thederangedwang » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:36 am

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Last edited by thederangedwang on Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BlaqBella
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby BlaqBella » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:33 am

thederangedwang wrote:
BlaqBella wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:What about for other minorities, like Hispanics?


The same holds true for Hispanic attorneys.

I also wanted to add another tidbit that remains relevant specifically for URM attorneys:

Avoid secluding yourself. Often times you find the social circles of URM associates heavily or exclusively that of other URMs. This can be career suicide. Make sure to expand your horizons and invite or take an invitation to lunch or a social outing with non-URM colleagues. Mingle at those holiday parties and introduce yourself to other attorneys outside your group. Just don't be boxed in as the URM attorney who doesn't know how to be friendly. Colleagues can easily feel slighted or try to use any excuse to keep you from advancing (ie "oh, s/he lacks interpersonal skills"..."well, s/he doesn't seem to be someone who can work in a group setting", etc.).

Be very aware of how you are perceived. Everything you do is observed in a firm setting and you can easily be blacklisted by one or two mis-steps.

Also, learn the ins and out of a sport or be willing to learn a sport. NFL, college basketball, soccer, tennis and golf seem to be the most popular. Many firms often have pool competitions or sport competitions within the firm or with clients. You'd be surprised how being active in these types of competitions can help advance your career. It's all about being social both within and outside the firm. I seldom see URMs involve in these type of things.


Any insight on asians? Tend to be just as underrepresented in law firms as other minorities yet without the benefit of URM/AA status


As in South Asian or East Asian?

I'm afraid I am in no position to comment on specific experiences faced by Asian associates but working alongside both East Asian and South Asian associates, the latter seem to have a harder time navigating the system and Asian women seem to have a harder time in general v.s. Asian men.

East Asian associates can also easily be boxed in for specific matters/clients/partners, but that may be due to language skills (ie partner has Asian clients that wishes to negotiate a deal with attorney who speaks their language). Some Asian partners also scout for Asian associates to work on matters where clients prefer interfacing with someone who looks like them..preferably Asian males. Culture comes into play even for business deals.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby ScottRiqui » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:25 pm

Wormfather wrote:Just wanted to say that despite our differences, BlaqBella is killing it ITT.


+1

Also, I think it's funny that this thread is such a departure from her normal body of work that it almost seems like I'm being trolled right now, even though it's by far the most reasonable/useful stuff I've ever seen her post.

Coco_Local
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby Coco_Local » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:27 pm

Is your firm a free market firm? If so, you are going to likely have a harder time finding work.

I went to Chicago. But have friends who attended HLS, SLS, Michigan, Columbia, and Duke. We all worked at free market firms. Our experiences have been very, very similar. I worked at a well known biglaw firm in a major market. It's usually ranked among the better litigation departments in the country. I worked in a free market firm, which meant I pretty much had to pound the pavement to get (good) work, with partners who had interesting cases. I regularly billed 2300-2400 per year. My hours were high because I got to work on a few major trials that went on for weeks (good experience, horrid in terms of my life. Have you ever spent extensive time in S.D. Texas? Ugh). The free market system is horrible for minorities since it allows partners to opt out of using them for cases (I routinely saw that issue in my old firm and friends at other places saw similar issues). Minorities (across all categories), among my class range, were definitely laid off more in comparison to white associates. I was really surprised to see so many Asian friends of mine get the ax during the last downturn. I am at a loss as to why so many Asians get shafted. (google for example shinyung oh...her stealth layoff is textbook but her slapdown was classic).

Biglaw is a shitty job. The people who aren't getting sacked, are looking for greener pastures because there is very little career stability. I found the lack of stability to be troubling, so I left (gracefully) to clerk. Friends of mine who were fired/laid off, however, were fucked careeer wise. Firms, after stealthing an associate, basically refuse to provide references, even partners who otherwise might be willing often are restricted from speaking since this would undermine the whole "X couldn't hack it argument." Why bother gambling in a place that might fuck you over, when you could go in-house or to the federal government -- both of which don't have institutional attrition built into their business models. Any smart minority is going to scram. The unlucky ones get sacked before they had a chance to find a landing pad. Most of my friends are teaching at law schools, working in house or working for the federal government (like me). I know of two people who are still in biglaw, but neither plans on staying for much longer and are actively looking to move in house when the right opporunity hits.

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BullShitWithBravado
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby BullShitWithBravado » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:45 pm

BlaqBella wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:What about for other minorities, like Hispanics?


The same holds true for Hispanic attorneys.

I also wanted to add another tidbit that remains relevant specifically for URM attorneys:

Avoid secluding yourself. Often times you find the social circles of URM associates heavily or exclusively that of other URMs. This can be career suicide. Make sure to expand your horizons and invite or take an invitation to lunch or a social outing with non-URM colleagues. Mingle at those holiday parties and introduce yourself to other attorneys outside your group. Just don't be boxed in as the URM attorney who doesn't know how to be friendly. Colleagues can easily feel slighted or try to use any excuse to keep you from advancing (ie "oh, s/he lacks interpersonal skills"..."well, s/he doesn't seem to be someone who can work in a group setting", etc.).

Be very aware of how you are perceived. Everything you do is observed in a firm setting and you can easily be blacklisted by one or two mis-steps.

Also, learn the ins and out of a sport or be willing to learn a sport. NFL, college basketball, soccer, tennis and golf seem to be the most popular. Many firms often have pool competitions or sport competitions within the firm or with clients. You'd be surprised how being active in these types of competitions can help advance your career. It's all about being social both within and outside the firm. I seldom see URMs involve in these type of things.


I'm assuming that firms just keep hiring a certain number of URM summer SAs so they can report a certain number of diversity hires and that most of these diversity hires never end up getting any kind of meaningful promotion in Big Law and get pushed out. The reason why it's probably harder for URMs to make it in Big Law is probably because they're surrounded by the stigma that they were a diversity (affirmative action) hire and that that is the ONLY reason why they were hired in the first place. OP, would you say this is accurate?

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BlaqBella
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby BlaqBella » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:10 pm

Coco_Local wrote:Why bother gambling in a place that might fuck you over, when you could go in-house or to the federal government -- both of which don't have institutional attrition built into their business models.


Because its easier to get from law firm to in-house/government than vice versa. Law firm experience is a rite of passage that requires sacrificing at least 5 years of your life. Some are able to leave and land just fine after 2-3 years but the meat of your skill set often begins in your third year. By 4th/5th year, you're expected to run deals and micromanage teams (for most firms, at least). Clients start coming to you directly and you're known on a first-name basis.

Coco_Local wrote:Any smart minority is going to scram.


Only after transferable skills are part of your DNA. Some may downsize to a smaller firm within that 5-year time frame if the environment gets too hostile or if you believe you have more room for growth (partnership). A black female associate friend of mine went from Sullivan & Cromwell NYC to a reputable DC lit firm after 3 years in the trenches. She finds the work much more dynamic and hours considerably better.

This just goes to show that there is a law firm environment for everyone. They all have different cultures, reputations and room for growth. Not to mention the city of choice dictates firm culture. For example, NYC law firms are considered the most brutal with respect to hours and competition but it appears having NYC experience on your resume makes you more desirable. Anyone who can survive NYC BIGLAW is someone who can survive almost any where else and lateral recruiters know this.

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BlaqBella
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby BlaqBella » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:17 pm

BullShitWithBravado wrote:The reason why it's probably harder for URMs to make it in Big Law is probably because they're surrounded by the stigma that they were a diversity (affirmative action) hire and that that is the ONLY reason why they were hired in the first place.


It's harder simply from the fact that it is still an old boy's club with an old boy's mentality. White males continue to dominate law firms, clients though advocating the need/want for diversity continue to prefer white males leading their deals/case matters and white males continue to be the most highest paid even amongst their white female counterparts.

I highly doubt it is due to URM associates assuming the line of thinking you present. In fact, most URMs can't get an offer without decent grades.

lawprospie
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby lawprospie » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:28 pm

Coco_Local wrote:Is your firm a free market firm? If so, you are going to likely have a harder time finding work.

I went to Chicago. But have friends who attended HLS, SLS, Michigan, Columbia, and Duke. We all worked at free market firms. Our experiences have been very, very similar. I worked at a well known biglaw firm in a major market. It's usually ranked among the better litigation departments in the country. I worked in a free market firm, which meant I pretty much had to pound the pavement to get (good) work, with partners who had interesting cases. I regularly billed 2300-2400 per year. My hours were high because I got to work on a few major trials that went on for weeks (good experience, horrid in terms of my life. Have you ever spent extensive time in S.D. Texas? Ugh). The free market system is horrible for minorities since it allows partners to opt out of using them for cases (I routinely saw that issue in my old firm and friends at other places saw similar issues). Minorities (across all categories), among my class range, were definitely laid off more in comparison to white associates. I was really surprised to see so many Asian friends of mine get the ax during the last downturn. I am at a loss as to why so many Asians get shafted. (google for example shinyung oh...her stealth layoff is textbook but her slapdown was classic). .


THIS IS INTERESTING. I had a looming suspicion that this would be the case. I work in management consulting which is essentially a free market system for work. I find this to be problematic for very similar reasons.

Coco_Local
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby Coco_Local » Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:34 pm

I am not arguing that minorities should entirely bypass biglaw. I'm just pointing out it is extremely stupid and short sighted to believe for one second you can build your entire career there. The working presumption must be that you will leave within 3-6 years and your agenda needs to be focused on setting you up for your next job -- not making partner (this applies to everyone, of course, but minorities really should disabuse themselves of the idea that gunning for partner is a good idea absent some extraordinary support from the most powerful people in the firm).

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JXander
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby JXander » Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:46 pm

The stories and advice on this thread are very interesting. Thank you all for taking the time to post.

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TatNurner
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby TatNurner » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:00 am

TLS is very cyclical and its interesting to see how certain discussions always come up and the different perspectives that are expressed depending on the who the dominant personalities on the boards are at the time.

I encourage people to use the search function to see how these sort of discussions have gone in the past. The scope of my comments go beyond OP's question, but I think they are relevant. Below are a few posts from the past that stick out in my mind on this issue. It seems there are two main strands of thought on how URMs fare in biglaw. One is that they are shut out, as we have heard in this thread, and the other is that URM + biglaw experience = lucrative opportunities elsewhere, hence the higher than normal attrition rates. As with anything in life, it is likely a combination of the two. For the sake of balance, here are some perspectives that represent the latter position:

indiana_student wrote:The thing one must remember is that high performing African Americans (especially males) are VERY, VERY much in demand. The number one black retention problem at the Chicago NALP250 firm I am summering at is the blacks who hold their own often get better offers from the clients they work on. These corporations also have trouble attracting quality black candidates. The question becomes:

Do I stay on as a senior associate or do I take the Fortune 500 job where I will be in charge of North American legal affairs and make an extra $100,000 a year? Well, it's obvious which spot a lot of people will take.

This was the exact issue that happened to two fourth year black associates this summer (one female, one male). I witnessed it with my own eyes. The thing is, you could tell these two were going to be partners if they stuck with the firm, but they could make a huge jump without waiting four more years. As much as the firm wants to retain blacks, they will not offer them more money than their white counterparts and they sure as hell won't shorten the partner track.

The lack of black partners has more to do with poaching than it does underperformance by blacks. The recruitment is another issue. If you are top 20% out of Georgetown as a black (especially a black male) you are going to be able to write your own ticket. All of the firms will be dying for you, the corporations will all be dying to get you, prestigious government jobs will give you a chance.

If you are a black student, from a top school and have an adequate performance on the job...The world is yours.

Take my post as you want, but I believe this is how it is. Even if you struggle in school, you will still land a nice job (you are going to a great school). However, once at the firm, you will need to hold your own in order to stay on partner track. With that said, I fully believe it is easier as a black to become a partner. the reason is because of the dearth of blacks. The number of blacks entering law school is actually decreasing, and this makes blacks a more scarce commodity.

There is absolutely no doubt that a high performing black will have better exit options than a similarly performing white. I wouldn't worry about the relative lack of blacks in partner positions. Some of, even a lot of, this issue has to do with blacks getting poached.

One word of advice, make friends with the black partners. They will more than likely take you under the wing and tell you how to go about getting the important work, and as a result you'll become a more marketable attorney.

BIGLAW AFRICAN AMERICAN HIRING



PDaddy wrote:There is no one correct answer, and some of the factors are universal and affect all associates regardless of background. There is a dearth of "qualified" black candidates, but not because black law grads lack the abilities. Some of the posts above have already alluded to some of the reasons for the dearth of qualified black candidates.

There is also a dearth of qualified black candidates willing to go into biglaw, and of those who do, they tend to leave: (1) natural flameouts due to lack of ability, (2) GOB networks that lead to (3) lack of mentoring and (4) racial office politics in general (harassment, poor work assignments, etc.), (5) headhunting and poaching by other firms and corporations, (5) self-selected entrepreneurship, etc.

The latter two reasons play a larger part in biglaw attrition by black associates than many would think, as many black associates simply self-select themselves into other cushy positions after they have paid their debts and made a little savings. The competition for talented black professionals is stiff; to glamorous corporations a black Wall Street associate is ripe for poaching. MTV, NBC, the pro sports leagues, Microsoft, etc. are notorious for stealing black talent from the firms that represent them. Go figure.

It makes sense because many of these associates are the same students that elite law schools had to fight over because there were too few qualified black law school applicants.

There is also a wall at the recruiting booths on law school campuses, and biglaw firms are still recruiting too few qualified black candidates. To minimize diversity, some recruiters find ways to discourage black candidates during interviews, namely exaggerating drawbacks to working in their firms. They know that if the position seems unattractive, black candidates will not accept.

Add to these factors the realities of the legal profession that affect all candiates, such as competition and a poor economy.

WHY ARE THERE SO FEW BLACKS IN CORPORATE LAW


This last is from XOXO, but its still relevant. Basically it was one of those question-answer threads with a partner.

Asker wrote:Why is it so rare that a Black female gets promoted to partner?


Partner wrote:There aren't many in the pipeline. Relatively speaking, there is an ncredible lack of talented and qualified black female associates (for a countless number of reasons).


Asker wrote:For the ones that are there, why don't you promote them?


Partner wrote:We do. Contrary to the belief some may have, most firms aren't full of racists looking to exclude minorities. Heck, I'd probably vote to promote a somewhat less-qualified black candidate if I could. There just aren't many around (of even somewhat less quality). There is an absolute derth of qualified black females in the associate ranks.


Asker wrote:Define "qualified".

What about an NYU black female at around (or just below) the median of her class?


Partner wrote:By qualified I mean qualified to be partner. Someone who is just below the median of her class at NYU probably wouldn't make partner at my firm anyway (generally speaking), so why would I treat that as some sort of badge of excellence?

I'm talking about qualified in terms of excellent work product, commitment to the firm, proper attitude, maturity, etc. Take any 10 entry-level associates, and maybe 1 is going to turn into the kind of lawyer everyone wants to elevate to partner. The problem is when you don't even have 10 black females to start off with (maybe 1 or 2 who even make our school/grade cutoffs), then the number who actually stick around and are partnership material are few and far between.


Asker wrote:Are black females not billing enough hours, or are they just not buddy-buddy enough with partners? Aren't you more likely to "befriend" or informally "mentor" young white male associates who remind you of your younger self?

I've also heard that black females get criticized more harshly than white associates when it comes time for performance review (perhaps because of prejudice, affirmative action stigma, etc). What do you say to that?

Also, is top 1/3 good enough coming from NYU?


Partner wrote:I'm a bleeding heart liberal and I think your posts demonstrate the type of misconceptions, defeatist attitudes, and victim mentality that is KILLING black females in the professional world.

Being made partner has little to do with who you are buddy-buddy with. We run a business to make money. As much as I care about attitude/fit/personality, I'm in the minority. Most people would ask any asshole to join them as partner if that asshole was a brilliant lawyer who could help our business.

And is top 1/3 good enough for what? To get hired? Sure, depends on the firm. To make partner? Of course not. What do law school grades have to do with partnership? We've had magna cum laudes from Harvard not make partner.


Thread continues here. (LinkRemoved)


In sum, from my thoroughly unscientific survey of teh internetz and my own experience in another professional field these are my thoughts: Visible URM is an amplifier. If you are a poor performer, that is amplified in people's perception of you more than it might be if you were white. If you kick some serious ass in an environment where there is competition for black talent then that is also amplified and opportunities will flow your way easier than they might do if you are white.

So the dynamic is different from that of the white person, but there is still opportunity out there.

lawprospie
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby lawprospie » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:38 am

Some of the items in Nat's post bring up a few scenarios in my mind and the importance of blacks doing as well as possible while in law school.

Could you imagine the opportunities for a minority from a top 14 law school who graduates Order of the Coif?

At my undergrad, no black students have been inducted into PBK in like 8 years. If someone had, the opportunities for them probably would have been fellowships, such as the Rhodes. However, AAs at my undergrad who had 3.5+ and strong leadership positions (which was only a handful) ended up with great opps. after graduation.

I am wondering how URMs with really impressive credentials are treated during recruitment and while working at a firm.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby Aqualibrium » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:03 am

I'm a c/o 2012 law grad who works at a 300+ attorney firm. I'm the only AA male associate or partner. I won't discount anything else that has been said in this thread because it's all probably true, but my experience has been very different in the 6 months I've been working at the firm. From the time I was a summer associate I feel like the firm has bent over backwards to ensure that I was happy.

I've thought about it in the past and I can attribute some of that to merit and some of that to the fact that they clearly need the diversity and there has been a pattern over the past decade of AA's leaving the firm on their own accord. The merit side i'll attribute to the fact that I got the opportunity to work with two of the serious rain makers at the firm on some substantive projects and they loved my work. I was told by HR that one of those partners actually came to them and instructed that I be hired for his team, so I actually got my permanent offer before my SA was even up.

Since then, I've had several situations happen that made it seem as if the firm was grooming me for an extended stay there. They've put me in positions to be in direct daily contact with the CEO and CFO of the firm, and the GC of the firm and I have developed a close friendship that has enabled me to be privy to information even some partners don't know. YMMV of course with regards to both my experience and those described above.


I think I'll come back to this thread periodically and update my perception of things as the months and years go along.

P.S. Excuse any typos or grammatical errors, typed this up on my phone because I don't like to visit sites on my work computer.

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Lacepiece23
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Re: Firm Life for an URM

Postby Lacepiece23 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:33 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:I'm a c/o 2012 law grad who works at a 300+ attorney firm. I'm the only AA male associate or partner. I won't discount anything else that has been said in this thread because it's all probably true, but my experience has been very different in the 6 months I've been working at the firm. From the time I was a summer associate I feel like the firm has bent over backwards to ensure that I was happy.

I've thought about it in the past and I can attribute some of that to merit and some of that to the fact that they clearly need the diversity and there has been a pattern over the past decade of AA's leaving the firm on their own accord. The merit side i'll attribute to the fact that I got the opportunity to work with two of the serious rain makers at the firm on some substantive projects and they loved my work. I was told by HR that one of those partners actually came to them and instructed that I be hired for his team, so I actually got my permanent offer before my SA was even up.

Since then, I've had several situations happen that made it seem as if the firm was grooming me for an extended stay there. They've put me in positions to be in direct daily contact with the CEO and CFO of the firm, and the GC of the firm and I have developed a close friendship that has enabled me to be privy to information even some partners don't know. YMMV of course with regards to both my experience and those described above.


I think I'll come back to this thread periodically and update my perception of things as the months and years go along.

P.S. Excuse any typos or grammatical errors, typed this up on my phone because I don't like to visit sites on my work computer.


mind if I pm you?




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