Big Law African American Hiring

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
User avatar
hiromoto45
Posts: 881
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:05 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby hiromoto45 » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:17 pm

After reading the autoadmit link above I wonder as an URM is it a smart decision to go to a T10 at sticker or go to a slightly lesser ranked school T20-T30 with a reasonable scholarship package?

Could someone give me their perspective on URM success at securing Biglaw jobs pay off the debt? Is it more difficult for URMs to pay off debt than their non-urm counterparts?

APimpNamedSlickback
Posts: 1126
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:33 am

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby APimpNamedSlickback » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:20 pm

fwiw, i plan on studying like the opposite of a diversity advantage exists: top 10% or no job.

that said, i think it is pretty clear that urms are extended some advantages in the biglaw recruitment process. the extent to which that is the case, however, is probably anyone's guess.

elmagic
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:49 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby elmagic » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:26 pm

Jules Winnfield wrote:Boo! Link's dead.

+1 for effort.


http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/ ... report.pdf

Pretty sure that should work.

User avatar
Jules Winnfield
Posts: 214
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:32 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby Jules Winnfield » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:44 pm

hiromoto45 wrote:After reading the autoadmit link above I wonder as an URM is it a smart decision to go to a T10 at sticker or go to a slightly lesser ranked school T20-T30 with a reasonable scholarship package?

Could someone give me their perspective on URM success at securing Biglaw jobs pay off the debt? Is it more difficult for URMs to pay off debt than their non-urm counterparts?


First off, I believe that you should take everything here on TLS with a grain of salt and everything on websites like AutoAdmit with a lump of it. TLS and AA are generally anonymous online communities comprised of mostly 0Ls with very limited insight on the legal industry.

With that said, my perspective is this: Once URMs reach law school and put in work (ie-median and above), recruiters and employers are more willing to hire URMs with less emphasis on their respective academic performances. This is mainly because, as I said earlier, there are so few blacks and latinos in the legal community; males from these groups are particularly rare. Therefore, URMs are heavily in demand by lawfirms (BIGLAW or not) for, more than anything else, fulfilling diversity initiative requirements. Albeit this is anecdotal information, a few current law students at a T2 school in my area informed me that law firms and their employers "want to help blacks" and "when they see you trying, will give you a chance". This is not to say that making it into a good law school will lead you into a road paved with gold but, if you work hard enough (ie-better than half of your class), the opportunities will be there. You'll find a job that'll take care of your debt. And, hopefully, the market will rebound in a few years' time when we're graduating.

As far as your situation is concerned, it really comes down to what you value more: being in as little debt as possible or getting into the best school possible. I'd like to think that one should go to the best school he or she gets into and work so that investment pays off. However, given this economy and financial state, one should be quite mindful of his or her debt. And law school costs more than a pretty penny. It's really a toss-up as to what you value more---prestige or financial responsibility. There really is no wrong answer here. Going to a top-school would be a wonderful accolade and will almost surely open plenty of doors for you for your legal career. However, there is no shame in going to top-20/30 school, especially if you're receiving a decent scholarship. The fact remains that you're a URM and a hot commodity going into law school and will be one as a future attorney. Just do the best you can at school.

Go with what you think would be best for you, your future and your family.

User avatar
Jules Winnfield
Posts: 214
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:32 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby Jules Winnfield » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:44 pm

elmagic wrote:
Jules Winnfield wrote:Boo! Link's dead.

+1 for effort.


http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/ ... report.pdf

Pretty sure that should work.


Thanks, elmagic!

User avatar
hiromoto45
Posts: 881
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:05 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby hiromoto45 » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:54 pm

Jules Winnfield wrote:
hiromoto45 wrote:After reading the autoadmit link above I wonder as an URM is it a smart decision to go to a T10 at sticker or go to a slightly lesser ranked school T20-T30 with a reasonable scholarship package?

Could someone give me their perspective on URM success at securing Biglaw jobs pay off the debt? Is it more difficult for URMs to pay off debt than their non-urm counterparts?


First off, I believe that you should take everything here on TLS with a grain of salt and everything on websites like AutoAdmit with a lump of it. TLS and AA are generally anonymous online communities comprised of mostly 0Ls with very limited insight on the legal industry.

With that said, my perspective is this: Once URMs reach law school and put in work (ie-median and above), recruiters and employers are more willing to hire URMs with less emphasis on their respective academic performances. This is mainly because, as I said earlier, there are so few blacks and latinos in the legal community; males from these groups are particularly rare. Therefore, URMs are heavily in demand by lawfirms (BIGLAW or not) for, more than anything else, fulfilling diversity initiative requirements. Albeit this is anecdotal information, a few current law students at a T2 school in my area informed me that law firms and their employers "want to help blacks" and "when they see you trying, will give you a chance". This is not to say that making it into a good law school will lead you into a road paved with gold but, if you work hard enough (ie-better than half of your class), the opportunities will be there. You'll find a job that'll take care of your debt. And, hopefully, the market will rebound in a few years' time when we're graduating.

As far as your situation is concerned, it really comes down to what you value more: being in as little debt as possible or getting into the best school possible. I'd like to think that one should go to the best school he or she gets into and work so that investment pays off. However, given this economy and financial state, one should be quite mindful of his or her debt. And law school costs more than a pretty penny. It's really a toss-up as to what you value more---prestige or financial responsibility. There really is no wrong answer here. Going to a top-school would be a wonderful accolade and will almost surely open plenty of doors for you for your legal career. However, there is no shame in going to top-20/30 school, especially if you're receiving a decent scholarship. The fact remains that you're a URM and a hot commodity going into law school and will be one as a future attorney. Just do the best you can at school.

Go with what you think would be best for you, your future and your family.


Great response!

User avatar
lostjake
Posts: 320
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby lostjake » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:03 pm

--LinkRemoved--

Good reality check for some of you...

User avatar
Jules Winnfield
Posts: 214
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:32 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby Jules Winnfield » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:12 pm

lostjake wrote:http://bigdebtsmalllaw.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/shitlaw-primer-part-i-life-of-a-coder/

Good reality check for some of you...



While this web-article does touch upon some good points, I'm going to have to take it with a grain of salt. Besides, it reeks of anti-law school bias (ie-www.bigdebtsmallaw.com)

mhernton
Posts: 174
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 12:07 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby mhernton » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:48 pm

Great Thread

User avatar
Jules Winnfield
Posts: 214
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:32 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby Jules Winnfield » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:16 pm

Yes it is! Let's keep it going!

User avatar
Langfall
Posts: 40
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:04 am

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby Langfall » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:27 am

Jules Winnfield wrote:
lostjake wrote:http://bigdebtsmalllaw.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/shitlaw-primer-part-i-life-of-a-coder/

Good reality check for some of you...



While this web-article does touch upon some good points, I'm going to have to take it with a grain of salt. Besides, it reeks of anti-law school bias (ie-www.bigdebtsmallaw.com)


Just read this article. It was interesting and very well written but Id kinda have to agree with Jules here. The guy is very anti-law and while it is highly possible that that will happen to anyone on the law track its not exclusive to the legal profession. I worked as an EMT for a few years and Id say it was a very similar, less than thrilling, anger evoking, and disheartening experience. In short I HATED it. Perhaps if there is a lesson to be learned from his diatribe its more that you should go into law because its really a profession in which you want to work rather than its a profession where the letters read L. A. W. but somehow you can only see $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Figured I need to make an addition: no offense to that cat who said he/she is only in it for the money. Its just my take on the blog

User avatar
Jules Winnfield
Posts: 214
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:32 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby Jules Winnfield » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:52 pm

It's always better to pursue what you'd like to do and then, once you're achieving, to get as much $$$ as possible from it.

For me, and probably most URMs, the legal field does provide us with an opportunity to make a difference and to represent our disenfranchised communities. While the prospect of making lots of money does float our boats, I'd like to think that we'd be more at peace with ourselves were we to have a stable salary but live comfortably while making our marks on the legal field instead of selling out to the highest bidder and having a huge salary but making no difference for our own (and having no time to spend with family/friends).

That's just my two cents.

User avatar
ck3
Posts: 133
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:48 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby ck3 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:53 am

Jules Winnfield wrote:It's always better to pursue what you'd like to do and then, once you're achieving, to get as much $$$ as possible from it.

For me, and probably most URMs, the legal field does provide us with an opportunity to make a difference and to represent our disenfranchised communities. While the prospect of making lots of money does float our boats, I'd like to think that we'd be more at peace with ourselves were we to have a stable salary but live comfortably while making our marks on the legal field instead of selling out to the highest bidder and having a huge salary but making no difference for our own (and having no time to spend with family/friends).

That's just my two cents.


I agree with you Jules to a point but I want to offer a slightly different perspective. If you pursue biglaw and stay in it and make partner, I believe you are helping the community by doing this. One you provide a visible example to minorities entering the field. Two, you can help mentor younger minority associates and influence hiring decisions for regular and summer employment (which is not to say that you would just favor other minorities). Three with the money you make as a partner you can help the community in lots of ways like donating to non-profits or serving on their boards or even starting your own. You can help endow scholarships to help your community and I think the number one way to help any minority community would be to start a business in that community that employs people. So if you become a partner at xyz firm and use the extra cheddar to start a nice restaurant in a minority community that provides jobs, that is a great service to the community.

User avatar
Herb Watchfell
Posts: 239
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:48 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby Herb Watchfell » Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:58 am

gayblackrepublicans wrote:Of COURSE Black people love opera. I'm black, and my life would be incomplete without Puccini.


Son, Puccini =/= Punani

User avatar
Jules Winnfield
Posts: 214
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:32 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby Jules Winnfield » Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:59 am

ck3 wrote:
Jules Winnfield wrote:It's always better to pursue what you'd like to do and then, once you're achieving, to get as much $$$ as possible from it.

For me, and probably most URMs, the legal field does provide us with an opportunity to make a difference and to represent our disenfranchised communities. While the prospect of making lots of money does float our boats, I'd like to think that we'd be more at peace with ourselves were we to have a stable salary but live comfortably while making our marks on the legal field instead of selling out to the highest bidder and having a huge salary but making no difference for our own (and having no time to spend with family/friends).

That's just my two cents.


I agree with you Jules to a point but I want to offer a slightly different perspective. If you pursue biglaw and stay in it and make partner, I believe you are helping the community by doing this. One you provide a visible example to minorities entering the field. Two, you can help mentor younger minority associates and influence hiring decisions for regular and summer employment (which is not to say that you would just favor other minorities). Three with the money you make as a partner you can help the community in lots of ways like donating to non-profits or serving on their boards or even starting your own. You can help endow scholarships to help your community and I think the number one way to help any minority community would be to start a business in that community that employs people. So if you become a partner at xyz firm and use the extra cheddar to start a nice restaurant in a minority community that provides jobs, that is a great service to the community.


That's actually pretty good and quite valid. The main point it to make sure you remember where you're from, give back and pave the road for those who'll be in your position in the future.

User avatar
PDaddy
Posts: 2073
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:40 am

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby PDaddy » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:18 am

bullionbuks wrote:I will be attending Georgetown Law this fall. I know that students around the median have a good shot at Big Law. Would African Americans have a chance at Big Law with lesser grades? i.e. those students falling within the top 60% or worse. Thank you in advance.


Top-60%? That's not what you're "shooting for", is it? Are you confident that you can be a top student? Those questions are real, I'm not making any judgments or assumptions. That said, every student should strive to be the best or one of...

User avatar
Jules Winnfield
Posts: 214
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:32 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby Jules Winnfield » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:21 am

PDaddy wrote:
bullionbuks wrote:I will be attending Georgetown Law this fall. I know that students around the median have a good shot at Big Law. Would African Americans have a chance at Big Law with lesser grades? i.e. those students falling within the top 60% or worse. Thank you in advance.


Top-60%? That's not what you're "shooting for", is it? Are you confident that you can be a top student? Those questions are real, I'm not making any judgments or assumptions. That said, every student should strive to be the best or one of...


PDaddy, how do you feel about black students finishing at median or slightly better at T1 law schools? How would you feel about their marketability and employment prospects?

User avatar
Herb Watchfell
Posts: 239
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:48 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby Herb Watchfell » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:21 am

PDaddy wrote:
bullionbuks wrote:I will be attending Georgetown Law this fall. I know that students around the median have a good shot at Big Law. Would African Americans have a chance at Big Law with lesser grades? i.e. those students falling within the top 60% or worse. Thank you in advance.


Top-60%? That's not what you're "shooting for", is it? Are you confident that you can be a top student? Those questions are real, I'm not making any judgments or assumptions. That said, every student should strive to be the best or one of...


Not all of us are born pasty, Son.

User avatar
Jules Winnfield
Posts: 214
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:32 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby Jules Winnfield » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:26 am

Jules Winnfield wrote:
PDaddy wrote:
bullionbuks wrote:I will be attending Georgetown Law this fall. I know that students around the median have a good shot at Big Law. Would African Americans have a chance at Big Law with lesser grades? i.e. those students falling within the top 60% or worse. Thank you in advance.


Top-60%? That's not what you're "shooting for", is it? Are you confident that you can be a top student? Those questions are real, I'm not making any judgments or assumptions. That said, every student should strive to be the best or one of...


PDaddy, how do you feel about black students finishing at median or slightly better at T1 law schools? How would you feel about their marketability and employment prospects?


Or anyone else, for that matter...

User avatar
PDaddy
Posts: 2073
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:40 am

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby PDaddy » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:29 am

indiana_student wrote:
prophecy wrote:what does that mean? in reference to the comment about making partner.


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.



I am so glad you mention this! I read a thread a long time ago, in response to a NY Times article, where everyone talked about why black associates weren't sticking around. Black respondents cited everything from better job offers to desires to change fields to changes in areas to office politics and even racism. All of those potential explanations were valid. White respondents brought up Affirmative Action and cited the attrition as proof of its failure. They overwhelmingly assumed that black associates weren't cutting it and were either forced out or terminated involuntarily, if they didn't see the proverbial "writing on the wall" and just quit.

But people neglect to consider the possibility that black associates can be performing at such a high level that they get poached by headhunters. This makes sense and would seem to occur quite frequently. I can tell you that I had such an experience in my sales job; many of my clients offered me jobs working for them.

User avatar
PDaddy
Posts: 2073
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:40 am

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby PDaddy » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:37 am

Jules Winnfield wrote:
PDaddy, how do you feel about black students finishing at median or slightly better at T1 law schools? How would you feel about their marketability and employment prospects? Or anyone else, for that matter...


I think the stats are in URM's favor(s). However, I think we should not depend on that; it's too risky and sets a bad ethic among our people. We have to accept the responsibility that comes with being able performers. Every black LSAT taker needs to strive for 170, just like white students do. And every black law students needs to shoot for the top of his class.

No matter what school, those are my positions. That said, relative to lower tiered schools, i still think the hierarchy, i.e. rankings still speak loudly. All else held equal performers from top schools will have advantages irrespective of their ethnic groups.

User avatar
Unemployed
Posts: 699
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:35 am

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby Unemployed » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:39 am

indiana_student wrote:
prophecy wrote:what does that mean? in reference to the comment about making partner.


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.


In my limited experience (i.e. I heard from successful black attorneys that...) this is absolutely true. Surely, plenty of the black associates leave biglaw because they "can't cut it," but that's true of any race. Apparently, high performing black associates leave biglaw mainly for two reasons:

- Numerous opportunities which offer a better life, pay, and/or significance find them: AND
- Despite their talent and success, they feel like perpetual outsiders - and therefore, short-changed.

The second point cannot be overstated.

User avatar
UFstudent
Posts: 54
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:07 am

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby UFstudent » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:29 am

Dealing with being a perpetual outsider is what I am interested in preventing.

I left a career in the insurance industry after being turned down twice for a promotion. The reason officially ' I did not fit in to their culture', but they had 'a track where I'd be best suited' (where they stuck all the brown people). I went to official office parties and a few unofficial ones, but I didn't take part in the keg stands. After speaking with a first level manager in the company he advised that I was better off pursuing my passion. In school I never had the outsider problem. Many times I an the only brown person in the group, a fact I only notice in the the facebook pictures afterward. How do I find someone who has been there to help me not be an outsider?

I am confident that I have what it takes to be a good performer, but wonder about the intangibles that African Americans seem to strike out on.

socraticmethodman
Posts: 315
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:35 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby socraticmethodman » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:34 pm

For the most part, there were some interesting/informative posts in this thread. Maybe we can bring it back and hear some updated thoughts (The thread has been dead for almost a year)?

User avatar
Moxie
Posts: 665
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:27 pm

Re: Big Law African American Hiring

Postby Moxie » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:31 pm

bullionbuks wrote:I will be attending Georgetown Law this fall. I know that students around the median have a good shot at Big Law. Would African Americans have a chance at Big Law with lesser grades? i.e. those students falling within the top 60% or worse. Thank you in advance.


Yes, diversity is an important influence in Biglaw hiring. Biglaw hiring isn't scientific like LS admissions, but with a median GPA I would imagine you have a good shot at a Biglaw SA.




Return to “Under Represented Law Student Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests