Biglaw bias towards urm similar to t-14's?

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
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NYC Law
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Re: Biglaw bias towards urm similar to t-14's?

Postby NYC Law » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:34 pm

MTal wrote:T1 and URM = guaranteed Biglaw.

Big firms have race quotas, just like schools.


Just wanted to lol at this. How times have changed.

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Errzii
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Re: Biglaw bias towards urm similar to t-14's?

Postby Errzii » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:40 pm

Didn't read entire thread so apologies if it was already mentioned but one thing I found interesting was from the minimal nalp research I've done it does seem like there is some bias, at least at the partner level. That is, urms are not proportionally represented in partner numbers at many firms.

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Re: Biglaw bias towards urm similar to t-14's?

Postby bdubs » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:41 pm

URMs have a leg up in 1L SA positions. Firms have special "diversity" positions for 1Ls that exclude non-gay white students. These positions are not guaranteed for a URM (there are far fewer positions than URM students), but your chances of getting a job as a 1L are substantially higher as a minority. These positions can help lead to a 2L SA and offer.

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Re: Biglaw bias towards urm similar to t-14's?

Postby Coco_Local » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:18 pm

Cool, so what are the job prospects like for urms ite.[/quote]

During the last recession, I was pretty shocked to see the disconnect between my friends in biglaw who were minorities, including Asian, who got laid off. It was pretty brutal. I avoided that mess and left in 2008 to clerk, which was the smartest move I've ever made. Afterward, I went to the fed. government.

When you look at the number of minorities hired, I didn't see much of a difference when I was in law school in terms of where I got offers. I was a median student and ended up the same sort of places other median white students landed at my school. And when I did OCI for my firm, I didn't really get any direction on calling back minorities with respect to a lower GPA cut off. It was basically like, call back anyone with XXX. Now get back to work.

I hated biglaw, but paid my loans off there. I found getting work to be stressful, the people I worked with to be the worst sort of Ayn Rand types, and the cases to be insanely tedious. Being a partner is pointless since you are never, ever going to get the training needed to be a first chair, go-to bet the company guy/gal. You're just someone's Gal Friday. I am much, much happier litigating in the federal government. It's light and day, kids.
Last edited by Coco_Local on Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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TatNurner
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Re: Biglaw bias towards urm similar to t-14's?

Postby TatNurner » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:39 pm

Coco_Local wrote:
I hated biglaw, but paid my loans off there. I found getting work to be stressful, the people I worked with to be the worst sort of Ayn Rand types, and the cases to be insanely tedious. Being a partner is pointless since you are never, ever going to get the training needed to be a first chair, go-to bet the company guy/gal. You're just someone's Gal Friday. I am much, much happier litigating in the federal government. It's light and day, kids.


Thank you for your willingness to share your experiences. We rarely get URMs with significant biglaw experience on here so I think your insights will be really valuable to all of us.

I have a few questions:

1) Which type of school did you go to? T3/T6/T14/etc?
2) Was your firm in a regional market? And also, what was the "official" work assignment system in your firm?
3) Which area of practice were you in?
4) Can you expand on this, it's not quite clear what you mean:

Being a partner is pointless since you are never, ever going to get the training needed to be a first chair, go-to bet the company guy/gal. You're just someone's Gal Friday.


I ask that in the sense that I often hear that pursuing the partnership track is pointless because you'll never make it, but I've not heard it described this way before.

Also, can you speak more to this:

During the last recession, I was pretty shocked to see the disconnect between my friends in biglaw who were minorities, including Asian, who got laid off.


Are you saying the layoff rates were higher among your URM friends than your non-URM friends?

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Re: Biglaw bias towards urm similar to t-14's?

Postby Coco_Local » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:28 pm

I went to Chicago. But have friends who attended HLS, SLS, Michigan, Columbia, and Duke. 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 avoided document review hell by being willing to do pretty much anything, any time. 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 many Asian friends of mine get the ax during the last downturn. A litigation associate spends a vast amount of time distilling information to help a busy partner. You write the depo outline and arrange exhibits: partner takes dep. You write witness outline at trial and partner crosses witness. You write detailed memo, partner turns memo into motion to dismiss. If you are lucky, like I was, you get to do deps and write dispositive motions because the case schedule is so hectic. Most people, even at the income partner level, do not get enough substantive experience to land clients on their own (or their hourly rates are too damn high). There is a funnel from DOJ to biglaw, which I've seen minorities waltz right in and skip over the hellish associate years. Smart folks.

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Re: Biglaw bias towards urm similar to t-14's?

Postby indo » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:34 pm

Fourttier wrote:I have heard that URM's get hired by Biglaw but they don't stay, they quit. Never heard any reasons why they tend to quit Biglaw.



Too much work ?

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Re: Biglaw bias towards urm similar to t-14's?

Postby Coco_Local » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:35 pm

Also on the partner point. Even if you make it to income...you're career is still at risk. You are going to have a hellish time bringing in clients (because of conflicts as well as high billing rates). You skill set will likely be stunted since you are spending your time as to go to person for the partner with the big book (which is how you even made partner). In terms of selling youself, there is an inherent conflict. You need the hours from the big book. But that is contingent on someone else's whims, which frankly could change in an instant. Your rates could be too high. You could find yourself suddenly competing with a bright senior associate (or even midlevel). Many income partners try to protect themselves by down grading midlevel and senior associates reviews, but that kid might squirm past you into the big book partner's good graces. It's a hell of a lot of juggling and work politics...most of which have absolutely nothing to do with the basic practice of law. That's why I freaking love my job now. I litigate cases as the lead attorney and get to make the decisions without having to run the insane biglaw guantlet. Attrition is hell, kids.

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Re: Biglaw bias towards urm similar to t-14's?

Postby 005618502 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:48 pm

abh1981 wrote:Hi everyone, I work for a BigLaw firm in NYC (not a lawyer...yet). We hire almost exclusively from t-14, including minority candidates. The unofficial GPA cutoff for non-URM students is a 3.5; for URM students there is no cutoff. Even URMs with very, very low GPAs will be considered, provided that they are from a t-14. Basically, if you're a URM (particularly Black) and you go to a t-14 and don't fail, you should be all set for BigLaw. In fact, firms will fight for you.

As someone mentioned, retention of URM associates is a huge, huge problem. In reality, the work product of the URM associates is, on average, far below that of non-URM associates. This isn't all that surprising: when you're taking non-URM students almost exclusively from the top of the class and URM students from what is usually the bottom quarter of the class, the fact that the former performs better than the latter shouldn't be unexpected. Because the work product is inferior, partners generally won't want to work with those associates (because it will make them look bad to their clients, it takes up precious time to fix mistakes, etc.) The URM associates then get stuck doing boring, unfulfilling work, and choose to leave the firm(s) in search of greener pastures elsewhere.

That being said, there are a few very sucessful URM associates and partners where I work.


hahahaha

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Re: Biglaw bias towards urm similar to t-14's?

Postby Coco_Local » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:55 pm

I dunno. I was a lawyer in a big firm. I am sitting in my office on a federal holiday writing a reply brief and final pretrial order. I guess the kid who worked as a paralegal might know more about people's work product (how? I dunno).

I guess I'm asking...so? This is a bunch of random people's experiences. If I was a law student, I don't know how much weight I'd give this poster. But the kid has a point: some partners will go out of their way to avoid working with minorities for these preconceived reasons. You won't even get the chance to fuck up (which incidentially...everyone does. Nearly all summer associate work product is terrible. I say that as someone who regularly reads crap from the interns/externs in my office.).

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Re: Biglaw bias towards urm similar to t-14's?

Postby TatNurner » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:43 pm

Coco_Local wrote:Also on the partner point. Even if you make it to income...you're career is still at risk. You are going to have a hellish time bringing in clients (because of conflicts as well as high billing rates). You skill set will likely be stunted since you are spending your time as to go to person for the partner with the big book (which is how you even made partner). In terms of selling youself, there is an inherent conflict. You need the hours from the big book. But that is contingent on someone else's whims, which frankly could change in an instant. Your rates could be too high. You could find yourself suddenly competing with a bright senior associate (or even midlevel). Many income partners try to protect themselves by down grading midlevel and senior associates reviews, but that kid might squirm past you into the big book partner's good graces. It's a hell of a lot of juggling and work politics...most of which have absolutely nothing to do with the basic practice of law. That's why I freaking love my job now. I litigate cases as the lead attorney and get to make the decisions without having to run the insane biglaw guantlet. Attrition is hell, kids.


Ok.

So as you probably know, there is a debate about why few URMs stick around in Biglaw. One side says that because there are so few highly qualified URMs floating around in the economy, those that have JD + biglaw experience are quickly plucked from biglaw to go into more attractive industries that are looking to increase their diversity. The other side of the debate is more in line with some sentiments in this thread, and claims that URMs cannot cut it in Biglaw and so don't get very far. Where do you stand on this?

Also, what are your other URM friends who are no longer biglaw doing now?

Also on the partner point. Even if you make it to income...you're career is still at risk. You are going to have a hellish time bringing in clients (because of conflicts as well as high billing rates). You skill set will likely be stunted since you are spending your time as to go to person for the partner with the big book (which is how you even made partner).


I've never understood how this bringing in clients business works. As I understand it, some of these firms are representing big big client$ who they have had a relationship with for many years. How is it possible that someone who's been locked away as an associate for 8+ years is expected, or even capable of bringing in clients worthy of the firm?

Finally, those are quite a lot of hours you billed. How many hours per week did you work on average to be able to bill that much?

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Re: Biglaw bias towards urm similar to t-14's?

Postby 005618502 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:00 pm

TatNurner wrote:
Coco_Local wrote:Also on the partner point. Even if you make it to income...you're career is still at risk. You are going to have a hellish time bringing in clients (because of conflicts as well as high billing rates). You skill set will likely be stunted since you are spending your time as to go to person for the partner with the big book (which is how you even made partner). In terms of selling youself, there is an inherent conflict. You need the hours from the big book. But that is contingent on someone else's whims, which frankly could change in an instant. Your rates could be too high. You could find yourself suddenly competing with a bright senior associate (or even midlevel). Many income partners try to protect themselves by down grading midlevel and senior associates reviews, but that kid might squirm past you into the big book partner's good graces. It's a hell of a lot of juggling and work politics...most of which have absolutely nothing to do with the basic practice of law. That's why I freaking love my job now. I litigate cases as the lead attorney and get to make the decisions without having to run the insane biglaw guantlet. Attrition is hell, kids.


Ok.

So as you probably know, there is a debate about why few URMs stick around in Biglaw. One side says that because there are so few highly qualified URMs floating around in the economy, those that have JD + biglaw experience are quickly plucked from biglaw to go into more attractive industries that are looking to increase their diversity. The other side of the debate is more in line with some sentiments in this thread, and claims that URMs cannot cut it in Biglaw and so don't get very far. Where do you stand on this?

Also, what are your other URM friends who are no longer biglaw doing now?

Also on the partner point. Even if you make it to income...you're career is still at risk. You are going to have a hellish time bringing in clients (because of conflicts as well as high billing rates). You skill set will likely be stunted since you are spending your time as to go to person for the partner with the big book (which is how you even made partner).


I've never understood how this bringing in clients business works. As I understand it, some of these firms are representing big big client$ who they have had a relationship with for many years. How is it possible that someone who's been locked away as an associate for 8+ years is expected, or even capable of bringing in clients worthy of the firm?

Finally, those are quite a lot of hours you billed. How many hours per week did you work on average to be able to bill that much?


2300-2400 hours is not that bad if you are efficient and have the work around. I work at a litigation firm, not an attorney, but have been on 2 trial teams. When you are away at trial (think traveling) you will likely bill 100 hours a week. It sounds absolutely horrible, but while your there its not to bad. I work about 50-55 hours a week and consistantly bill 45 hours a week, at least. Most months I will be at/around 200 for the month. It really isnt a killer until you get into the 3,000 hours a year range, which many of the partners/associates here do.

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Re: Biglaw bias towards urm similar to t-14's?

Postby Coco_Local » Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:04 pm

I think a lot of people are terrible at biglaw, not just people of color. If it was a qualifications/grades (re Black folks) thing, I am at a loss as to why so many Asians get shafted. (google for example shinyung oh...her stealth 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 and a fundamental lack of appreciation outside of an attorney's ability to service other partners clients. 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.

Associates locked up for 8 years in biglaw won't have clients. The difficulty is continuing to build billable work. If your institutional client thinks you are too expensive, you're fucked. If some kid starts getting your work, you're fucked. If your big book partner leaves to work across the street (verrrrrrrrry common) you're fucked.

It's not rocket science as to why people run away from such places.

On the hours, I regularly worked 7:30 -7 M-F and every Sunday after brunch. I racked up tons of hours at trials since you start billing at 7:30 am (when you show up to Court) to 5:30 pm (when Court ends) and then add 7 pm to 1 or 2 a.m preparing for the next day. Trial is hurrrible but a good learning experience.




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