Any frank advice for POC in law school

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
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renc56
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Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby renc56 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:00 pm

Background: Not yet a law student - but I have worked as a paralegal for a couple of years at a firm that, in its many offices has 150+ lawyers, I was the only POC at work for about a year. It was isolating for many reasons (all offices have cliques) but not nearly as bad as it was for my friends at our main office where the only POC she saw were mostly support staff.

I realize that law school is mostly a white male profession. Knowing all this, what's some good advice that you have received from non-white lawyers about simultaneously fitting in and standing out? Where did you all look for mentors? Did you join ethnic/racial student groups like BLSA? What was your experience with diversity fellowships?

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renc56
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby renc56 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:22 am

Does anyone here plan on joining ethnic/racial/"identity" law student groups like the Chicano/Hispanic Law Students Association, BLSA, or a Jewish/Muslim legal group? If so, why?

lawpotato
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby lawpotato » Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:31 am

Come join us in the underrepresented minority thread: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=266507

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brinicolec
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby brinicolec » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:43 am

renc56 wrote:Does anyone here plan on joining ethnic/racial/"identity" law student groups like the Chicano/Hispanic Law Students Association, BLSA, or a Jewish/Muslim legal group? If so, why?


I'm most definitely joining BLSA, and maybe the women's org. (I know some schools have it, idk if all of them do)

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HillandHollow
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby HillandHollow » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:00 pm

renc56 wrote:Background: Not yet a law student - but I have worked as a paralegal for a couple of years at a firm that, in its many offices has 150+ lawyers, I was the only POC at work for about a year. It was isolating for many reasons (all offices have cliques) but not nearly as bad as it was for my friends at our main office where the only POC she saw were mostly support staff.

I realize that law school is mostly a white male profession. Knowing all this, what's some good advice that you have received from non-white lawyers about simultaneously fitting in and standing out? Where did you all look for mentors? Did you join ethnic/racial student groups like BLSA? What was your experience with diversity fellowships?



I don't have much to add except that affinity groups (BLSA, LLSA, et al) are a good idea. Networking occurs on many scales, and a lot of these groups--particularly the major, longstanding ones--maintain a solid network that can either help you or at least answer your questions while in law school.

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guynourmin
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby guynourmin » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:16 pm

renc56 wrote:I realize that law school is mostly a white male profession.


I definitely don't disagree with the spirit of this, but there were more female 1Ls last year than males.

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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby Dondraper88 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:16 pm

I'm not looking forward to spending the next three years being one of the few blacks let only alone black male around.

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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby brinicolec » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:53 am

Dondraper88 wrote:I'm not looking forward to spending the next three years being one of the few blacks let only alone black male around.


I take some solace in the fact that it seems like black law students and black legal professionals seem to be pretty close-knit/look out for each other.

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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby brinicolec » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:54 am

guybourdin wrote:
renc56 wrote:I realize that law school is mostly a white male profession.


I definitely don't disagree with the spirit of this, but there were more female 1Ls last year than males.


I wonder if perhaps they were meaning big law is mostly a white, male profession because based on my reading of demographics at big firms, that seems totally - and irritatingly - true lol

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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby guynourmin » Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:43 am

brinicolec wrote:
guybourdin wrote:
renc56 wrote:I realize that law school is mostly a white male profession.


I definitely don't disagree with the spirit of this, but there were more female 1Ls last year than males.


I wonder if perhaps they were meaning big law is mostly a white, male profession because based on my reading of demographics at big firms, that seems totally - and irritatingly - true lol

Or just law in general is mostly male still I think

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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby snowball2 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:39 am

guybourdin wrote:
renc56 wrote:I realize that law school is mostly a white male profession.


I definitely don't disagree with the spirit of this, but there were more female 1Ls last year than males.


You need to look at the stats, women comprise 50% of all law graduates and are close to 50% of biglaw associate hires but are below (in many cases well below) 20% representation as partners. It will take at least a century to get the partner numbers near parity at the rate women are being promoted to partner.

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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby Stylnator » Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:44 am

snowball2 wrote:
guybourdin wrote:
renc56 wrote:I realize that law school is mostly a white male profession.


I definitely don't disagree with the spirit of this, but there were more female 1Ls last year than males.


You need to look at the stats, women comprise 50% of all law graduates and are close to 50% of biglaw associate hires but are below (in many cases well below) 20% representation as partners. It will take at least a century to get the partner numbers near parity at the rate women are being promoted to partner.


this is probably the most depressing thing i've read all week

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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby Nebby » Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:51 am

guybourdin wrote:
renc56 wrote:I realize that law school is mostly a white male profession.


I definitely don't disagree with the spirit of this, but there were more female 1Ls last year than males.

NAGL bro

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renc56
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby renc56 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:15 pm

Stylnator wrote:
snowball2 wrote:
guybourdin wrote:
renc56 wrote:I realize that law school is mostly a white male profession.


I definitely don't disagree with the spirit of this, but there were more female 1Ls last year than males.


You need to look at the stats, women comprise 50% of all law graduates and are close to 50% of biglaw associate hires but are below (in many cases well below) 20% representation as partners. It will take at least a century to get the partner numbers near parity at the rate women are being promoted to partner.


this is probably the most depressing thing i've read all week


My original post was a typo (the law school should have been law/legal profession). ^ completely true - see: http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/ ... eckdam.pdf

I also work at a medium-big-sized firm in which it's extremely rare to find POC who are attorneys (there's some, just not in any of the offices in the state I live in lol). It's not my firm's problem, but I've noticed that it is isolating and hard to get mentors/let alone make friends with co-workers when co-workers say awkwardly racist things e.g. one attorney made a comment about Chinese people having bad hygiene and their hygiene was the reason he had the flu...

The school I'm choosing seems to have great options and I know POC attorneys around the country - so I have hope but it's still very much, an old boys' club.

Edit: more female 1Ls than male 1ls =/= diversity. White women in positions of power do not make it better for other marginalized groups. (Neither do POC always, but that's a whole other discussion)

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brinicolec
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby brinicolec » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:40 pm

snowball2 wrote:
guybourdin wrote:
renc56 wrote:I realize that law school is mostly a white male profession.


I definitely don't disagree with the spirit of this, but there were more female 1Ls last year than males.


You need to look at the stats, women comprise 50% of all law graduates and are close to 50% of biglaw associate hires but are below (in many cases well below) 20% representation as partners. It will take at least a century to get the partner numbers near parity at the rate women are being promoted to partner.


Corporate America in general is a white male-dominated field.

It's very frustrating/upsetting - especially since black women are the most highly educated demographic in the country right now.

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Mr_Chukes
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby Mr_Chukes » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:46 pm

Dondraper88 wrote:I'm not looking forward to spending the next three years being one of the few blacks let only alone black male around.

You'll get use to it. I've been in so many situations where I am the only black male or person in general. As time goes on people just realize that there isn't anything different about you other than your skin color. Also what I have heard is BLSA is really close-knit.

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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby Mr_Chukes » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:49 pm

brinicolec wrote:
snowball2 wrote:
guybourdin wrote:
renc56 wrote:I realize that law school is mostly a white male profession.


I definitely don't disagree with the spirit of this, but there were more female 1Ls last year than males.


You need to look at the stats, women comprise 50% of all law graduates and are close to 50% of biglaw associate hires but are below (in many cases well below) 20% representation as partners. It will take at least a century to get the partner numbers near parity at the rate women are being promoted to partner.


Corporate America in general is a white male-dominated field.

It's very frustrating/upsetting - especially since black women are the most highly educated demographic in the country right now.

Don't forget Nigerians are most educated ethnic group in America lol.

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Stylnator
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby Stylnator » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:50 pm

Mr_Chukes wrote:
Dondraper88 wrote:I'm not looking forward to spending the next three years being one of the few blacks let only alone black male around.

You'll get use to it. I've been in so many situations where I am the only black male or person in general. As time goes on people just realize that there isn't anything different about you other than your skin color. Also what I have heard is BLSA is really close-knit.


do you have to be black to join BLSA? I'm colored but my ethnicity is probably less common in the law world.


Don't quote

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Mr_Chukes
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby Mr_Chukes » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:53 pm

Stylnator wrote:
Mr_Chukes wrote:
Dondraper88 wrote:I'm not looking forward to spending the next three years being one of the few blacks let only alone black male around.

You'll get use to it. I've been in so many situations where I am the only black male or person in general. As time goes on people just realize that there isn't anything different about you other than your skin color. Also what I have heard is BLSA is really close-knit.


Love Mr_Chukes

I don't think you have to be.
Last edited by Mr_Chukes on Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Stylnator
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby Stylnator » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:57 pm

Mr_Chukes wrote:
Stylnator wrote:
Mr_Chukes wrote:
Dondraper88 wrote:I'm not looking forward to spending the next three years being one of the few blacks let only alone black male around.

You'll get use to it. I've been in so many situations where I am the only black male or person in general. As time goes on people just realize that there isn't anything different about you other than your skin color. Also what I have heard is BLSA is really close-knit.


Don't quote

I don't think you have to be.

thanks chukes :)

YBF-W
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby YBF-W » Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:12 pm

Mr_Chukes wrote:
brinicolec wrote:
snowball2 wrote:
guybourdin wrote:
renc56 wrote:I realize that law school is mostly a white male profession.


I definitely don't disagree with the spirit of this, but there were more female 1Ls last year than males.


You need to look at the stats, women comprise 50% of all law graduates and are close to 50% of biglaw associate hires but are below (in many cases well below) 20% representation as partners. It will take at least a century to get the partner numbers near parity at the rate women are being promoted to partner.


Corporate America in general is a white male-dominated field.

It's very frustrating/upsetting - especially since black women are the most highly educated demographic in the country right now.

Don't forget Nigerians are most educated ethnic group in America lol.


Lmao you had to. I sometimes wonder if Nigerians (and perhaps other west Africans) don't quite get the same boost, since they may actually be overrepresented in the black urm category... At least it seems that way from stalking blsa pages.

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Mr_Chukes
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby Mr_Chukes » Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:15 pm

YBF-W wrote:
Mr_Chukes wrote:
brinicolec wrote:
snowball2 wrote:
guybourdin wrote:
renc56 wrote:I realize that law school is mostly a white male profession.


I definitely don't disagree with the spirit of this, but there were more female 1Ls last year than males.


You need to look at the stats, women comprise 50% of all law graduates and are close to 50% of biglaw associate hires but are below (in many cases well below) 20% representation as partners. It will take at least a century to get the partner numbers near parity at the rate women are being promoted to partner.


Corporate America in general is a white male-dominated field.

It's very frustrating/upsetting - especially since black women are the most highly educated demographic in the country right now.

Don't forget Nigerians are most educated ethnic group in America lol.


Lmao you had to. I sometimes wonder if Nigerians (and perhaps other west Africans) don't quite get the same boost, since they may actually be overrepresented in the black urm category... At least it seems that way from stalking blsa pages.

I wrote my diversity statement about being Nigerian lol.

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renc56
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby renc56 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:34 pm

Stylnator wrote:
Mr_Chukes wrote:
Stylnator wrote:
Mr_Chukes wrote:
Dondraper88 wrote:I'm not looking forward to spending the next three years being one of the few blacks let only alone black male around.

You'll get use to it. I've been in so many situations where I am the only black male or person in general. As time goes on people just realize that there isn't anything different about you other than your skin color. Also what I have heard is BLSA is really close-knit.


Don't quote

I don't think you have to be.

thanks chukes :)


I met non-black members of BLSA. As long as you're down for the cause(s), that's all that matters.

Hogwartsexpress
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby Hogwartsexpress » Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:21 pm

looked up stats for the school I wanted to go to and only about 25 AA out of 650 students total. Guessing this is common unless I'm going to a hbcu

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Mr_Chukes
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Re: Any frank advice for POC in law school

Postby Mr_Chukes » Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:14 pm

icetea wrote:looked up stats for the school I wanted to go to and only about 25 AA out of 650 students total. Guessing this is common unless I'm going to a hbcu

Where did you find that information?




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