Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

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Psingh
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Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby Psingh » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:12 pm

Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM when these groups are clearly underrepresented in the legal field? For example there are more male attorneys and more male partners than female/transgender partners at big firms. So would it not make sense to in addition to accepting more African Americans, to also admit more women to law school to balance the scale?

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Clearly
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby Clearly » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:16 pm

Because diversity goals aren't based on the legal field, they are based on matriculants, and most schools are actually quite balanced in male/female.

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Lightworks
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby Lightworks » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:21 pm

Being gay is way too easy to lie about. If it offered a substantial bump, half of people applying would claim to be gay.

Psingh
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby Psingh » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:25 pm

Clearly wrote:Because diversity goals aren't based on the legal field, they are based on matriculants, and most schools are actually quite balanced in male/female.


What's the reason they base it on matriculants as opposed to the legal field? It will take like 30 years until women are equally represented in the legal field like this.

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sublime
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby sublime » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:29 pm

..

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holdencaulfield
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby holdencaulfield » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:33 pm

None of woman/transgender/gay are ethnicities.

Also, it's quite possible that if they were added a majority of applicants would be URM; and that would be 100% ironic.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:57 pm

Psingh wrote:
Clearly wrote:Because diversity goals aren't based on the legal field, they are based on matriculants, and most schools are actually quite balanced in male/female.


What's the reason they base it on matriculants as opposed to the legal field? It will take like 30 years until women are equally represented in the legal field like this.

Because since there's roughly an equal number of men and women in law schools, there are roughly equal numbers of men and women to hire. If women are underrepresented in law firm partners, isn't it on the law firms to address that rather than law schools?

(I mean, you could argue that there are things about legal education as it currently exists that disadvantage women and make them less likely to end up making partner - not saying that's necessarily the case, just saying theoretically, the root of underrepresentation could go back to law school - but that wouldn't be addressed by admitting more women than men, it would be fixed by addressing the actual causes of attrition.)

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby 20141023 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:54 pm

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 11, 2014 11:12 pm

I don't think the statistics about gender breakdown on law review have any direct correlation with performance in big law, though - potentially hiring, but not actually ability once at a firm. Basically everyone coming out of the schools that feed into biglaw has the intellectual capacity to perform well, even if the vagaries of test day performance lead to different GPAs. Practice isn't very like law school exams.

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Ron Mexico
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby Ron Mexico » Sat Jan 11, 2014 11:15 pm

LGBT makes up like 10 pct of the population or so, right? You sure they're underrepresented?

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kershka
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby kershka » Sat Jan 11, 2014 11:26 pm

Psingh wrote:Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM when these groups are clearly underrepresented in the legal field? For example there are more male attorneys and more male partners than female/transgender partners at big firms. So would it not make sense to in addition to accepting more African Americans, to also admit more women to law school to balance the scale?

Like others have noted, women at least are not very underrepresented in law school (I say this as a woman). LGBTQ is a bit harder because a lot of people aren't open about their sexuality and, unlike race and gender, law schools don't advertise "And 10% of our entering class is gay!" Transgenders make up such a small portion of the population and are often even less open about their identity that it is hard to know how underrepresented they are. That being said, for homosexuals and transgenders, they could probably write excellent diversity statements that could give them an edge.

Also, if you look through this http://admissionsbythenumbers.blogspot.com/ site, you'll see that many schools do give slight bumps for being female. The author actually jokes that if you are male and want to get into NYU you are better off getting a sex reassignment surgery than applying ED because the bump for females is more significant than the bump for ED.

The problems in the actual legal field are undeniable, of course, but are often more societal than anything. Women are still unfairly expected to perform the majority of household work, to have children and to take time off to raise them, and to put their families always ahead of their careers. Men aren't. That's not the fault of law schools, however, it's the fault of the legal profession and societal norms.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby PalmBay » Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:49 am

X-gender/gay is obvious because people would exploit the system. Also, there's no proof that those groups are in fact under-represented. These groups represent a significantly small portion of the population. So if they also represent a significantly small portion of lawyers, or law students, then you cannot assume low-representation relative to the whole is UNDER representation.

Ultimately a line has to be drawn somewhere. We can't just keep feeling sorry for people and giving boosters out of sympathy and wanting to artificially harmonize some statistics.

Nobody ever feels bad for the "over-represented" white dude because you know, "white privilege" and "male privilege". At least the narrative goes, white men can't possibly be born into disadvantaged circumstances.

If what OP is inquiring about were to come to fruition, there would be so many qualified "plain ol' ordinary white dudes" with better numbers (which were granted at birth, of course) who would see rejections or wait-lists because the quota for white men has been filled.

No, I'm not telling you to feel bad for ordinary white guys.
I'm saying give some thought for the human being whose window of opportunity closes shut on them just because society made a judgment based on their skin color and not the content of their qualifications .

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:56 am

No discussions of the merits of AA. Anyone who goes any further in that direction will take some time off.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby 20141023 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:07 am

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby iamgeorgebush » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:57 am

OP: I don't know about LGBT, but the problem for women lies with law firms, not law schools.

kappycaft1 et al: The whole "oh it's just that the partners are all old, it will change soon" argument doesn't work, because even new partner classes are still disproportionately male, despite the fact that new associates are roughly 50/50. This isn't just a case of it taking time for things to change. There are still many many factors limiting the progress of women. For example:

    1. Lack of access to mentors within the firm. Yes, many firms have formal mentorship programs, but the informal mentorships are the ones that really make a difference. And fact is that men (particularly straight men) tend to have better access to informal mentorships than women. Why? Imagine you're a straight male partner. Who are you more likely to invite out to drinks, the male midlevel/senior associate with whom you can talk about your wives and ogle hot twenty somethings at the bar, or the female midlevel/senior associate whom you might be construed as hitting on? Even if you, the straight male partner, do invite the woman out to drinks and she does advance because of your mentorship, people may assume that she got there for reasons other than her talent. People make these assumptions ("she must have slept her way to the top!") all the time.

    2. Lack of access to clients. Same as above, but replace partner with client. As we all know, the ability to bring in business is crucial for any attorney who wishes to become a partner, so if women are at an inherent disadvantage here, then that's going to be an issue.

    3. Different styles of leadership. Just as much a result of social conditioning as of genetics, men and women tend to have different styles of leadership, each with advantages and disadvantages for different situations. However, people naturally value styles of leadership similar to their own, which comes into play when the mostly male straight male partners are deciding whom to select as new partners. Even if Jane's less assertive leadership style works better than Joe's in many situations, partners whose leadership styles are more similar to Joe's will tend to think Joe is a better leader because his style is similar to their own.

    4. Implicit biases. Even if they don't consciously discriminate against women, male partners still carry unconscious biases that affect their evaluation of the female attorneys at their firm. When the Harvard Implicit Assumption Test is administered at large law firms, the male partners are routinely shown to carry these biases. How does this play out? Here's an example: When a woman is as assertive and aggressive as her male colleagues, the men in power think her to be a "bitch" (unconscious bias against aggressive women at work). When she tones it down, the men in power think her to be "weak" (implicit assumption that women are weak at work). It's a Catch-22.

And many of these problems apply to LGBTs and minorities as well.
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guano
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby guano » Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:07 pm

Why doesn't being redhead count as URM?

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby iamgeorgebush » Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:03 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:As for the specific reasons why people were pushed out/voluntarily left, here are a few of the reasons (these are not mutually exclusive; firms could select up to 5 different reasons why the associates left, and I am not listing all of the reasons, but rather just those that are relevant to our conversation):
Image

This looks fishy to me. Where is the unconscious discrimination and/or subtly hostile work environment options?

Also, there's the issue that even if many women do leave to be full-time mothers, relocate with their spouse, work part-time or anything else spousal/mother-related, they might not feel that pressure if advancement in the firm were more equitable for women...if it were, maybe their husbands would be the ones making the switch/move instead. Thus, a woman might say she is leaving for family-related reasons but still feel the influence of an unfair work environment for women.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby 20141023 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:06 pm

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:14 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:I am not going to address all of your points individually, but you do make a few valid arguments. However, I feel that in a lot of ways you are blowing the actual circumstances way out of proportion by assuming that the firm atmosphere is overbearingly sexist. Just as one example, here are the stats regarding the "lack of mentors" that you stated above, as well as a few more relevant statistics:

Image

Also, I am not saying that the percentage of all partners are tipped towards males because of how things used to be, but rather that this is just one of many factors that contributes to the difference in the number of men who make it to partner in comparison to the number of women. When you combine past hiring trends / social norms for women to nurture their families / slightly higher chances of males have more "qualified" resumes (law review, higher grades in law school) / etc., I think it adds up so that the number of women who won't make it to partner because of their gender alone is a lot less than feminists claim. Once again, the number of women who make it into firms (45% of associates) is roughly equal to the number who go to law school (47% of law students). We're therefore looking at a 25% gap (since 20% of the partners at firms are women), and I think it would be crazy to attribute a majority of that to sexist biases.

Depends how you define "sexist biases." The social norms that make it a lot more likely for women than men to step off the partnership track to raise children could well fall into that category, and I think family pressures are a huge factor in women not ending up as partners.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby 20141023 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:18 pm

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Kimikho
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby Kimikho » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:20 pm

kershka wrote:
Psingh wrote:Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM when these groups are clearly underrepresented in the legal field? For example there are more male attorneys and more male partners than female/transgender partners at big firms. So would it not make sense to in addition to accepting more African Americans, to also admit more women to law school to balance the scale?

Like others have noted, women at least are not very underrepresented in law school (I say this as a woman). LGBTQ is a bit harder because a lot of people aren't open about their sexuality and, unlike race and gender, law schools don't advertise "And 10% of our entering class is gay!" Transgenders make up such a small portion of the population and are often even less open about their identity that it is hard to know how underrepresented they are. That being said, for homosexuals and transgenders, they could probably write excellent diversity statements that could give them an edge.

Also, if you look through this http://admissionsbythenumbers.blogspot.com/ site, you'll see that many schools do give slight bumps for being female. The author actually jokes that if you are male and want to get into NYU you are better off getting a sex reassignment surgery than applying ED because the bump for females is more significant than the bump for ED.

The problems in the actual legal field are undeniable, of course, but are often more societal than anything. Women are still unfairly expected to perform the majority of household work, to have children and to take time off to raise them, and to put their families always ahead of their careers. Men aren't. That's not the fault of law schools, however, it's the fault of the legal profession and societal norms.


I have wondered how much of this is because women have higher GPAs than men do (on average), and this could lead to slightly better LORs on average. LORs barely matter, but all other things equal the applicant with better recommendations would get in.

Then, I wouldn't be surprised if women have fewer C+F violations. I don't have the data for it, but data on crime would suggest this (plus, just surveying my friends). I think this probably explains a large part of the perceived "boost" for women--it's really just having (sometimes) slightly better LORs, and less likely to have C+F issues.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:23 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Depends how you define "sexist biases." The social norms that make it a lot more likely for women than men to step off the partnership track to raise children could well fall into that category, and I think family pressures are a huge factor in women not ending up as partners.

Yes, but my point is that this is the fault of neither law firms nor law schools, and so it would be wrong to give females a "boost" during law school admissions in hopes that it will somehow improve their chances at making partner. :P

Oh, I don't think there should be a boost in law school admissions, either. I absolutely think that law firms help perpetuate those social norms (as do law schools, depending on how far you want to take causation), because neither law firms nor law schools operate somehow outside of the society that creates/perpetuates those norms. But that's a totally different thing from giving a URM-style boost for gender in law school admissions.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby iamgeorgebush » Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:25 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:I am not going to address all of your points individually, but you do make a few valid arguments. However, I feel that in a lot of ways you are blowing the actual circumstances way out of proportion by assuming that the firm atmosphere is overbearingly sexist.

Woah woah, whence "overbearingly sexist"? The sexism isn't "overbearing." It's subtle, usually unconscious, and much more insidious than any outright proclamation about the supposed inferiority of women.

kappycaft1 wrote:Just as one example, here are the stats regarding the "lack of mentors" that you stated above, as well as a few more relevant statistics:

Image

The "desire" for mentors or role models is irrelevant. Women need not realize that a lack of mentor-mentee relationships is holding them back for it to be so. They might be unaware of the extent to which these forces shape their careers. Classic fallacy really, straight out of the LSAT. In fact, using surveys of departing associates in the first place is a classic fallacy. Departing associates' stated reasons for leaving do not necessarily reflect the what's really going on.

kappycaft1 wrote:Also, I am not saying that the percentage of all partners are tipped towards males because of how things used to be, but rather that this is just one of many factors that contributes to the difference in the number of men who make it to partner in comparison to the number of women. When you combine past hiring trends / social norms for women to nurture their families / slightly higher chances of males having more "qualified" resumes (law review, higher grades in law school) / etc., I think it adds up so that the number of women who won't make it to partner because of their gender alone is a lot less than feminists claim. Once again, the number of women who make it into firms (45% of associates) is roughly equal to the number who go to law school (47% of law students). We're therefore looking at a 25% gap (since 20% of the partners at firms are women), and I think it would be crazy to attribute a majority of that to sexist biases.

Actually, 15% of BigLaw equity partners are women, not 20%. Source: I am involved with attorney recruiting and development at an AmLaw 100 firm.

And even with 20%, I don't understand where you're getting this "25% gap." With 80% partners being male and 20% female, that means 75% fewer women than men at the partner level. With the real numbers (85% and 15%), there are 82% fewer women than men. 82.35% actually, according to Excel.

I agree that some of the gap is attributable to social norms and perhaps even a natural desire for women to nurture their families. I expect, in a perfectly fair work world, there would still be some gap between the proportions of male and female partners. But 82% fewer female partners? Hell no.

Edit: Maybe you're talking about the gap between female associates and female partners? Yes, that must be where you're getting the 25% figure. In that case, it's still wrong. The change from 45% to 20% would be -55.6%, and the change from 45% to 15% (the real numbers) would be -66.7%.

Edit 2: Made an Excel thing illustrating the above. HTH.

Image

Captainunaccountable
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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby Captainunaccountable » Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:47 pm

I hope it's acceptable to state that the average man is more cutthroat and competitive than the average woman (IMO). Making partner is competitive. Social norms & preferential treatment are certainly considerations in this debate, but I'd be willing to bet that there are less women competing for these positions and less that are willing to compete against their male counterparts.

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Re: Why does being a woman/transgender/gay not count as URM?

Postby hohenheim » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:08 pm

iamgeorgebush wrote:
kappycaft1 wrote:Also, I am not saying that the percentage of all partners are tipped towards males because of how things used to be, but rather that this is just one of many factors that contributes to the difference in the number of men who make it to partner in comparison to the number of women. When you combine past hiring trends / social norms for women to nurture their families / slightly higher chances of males having more "qualified" resumes (law review, higher grades in law school) / etc., I think it adds up so that the number of women who won't make it to partner because of their gender alone is a lot less than feminists claim. Once again, the number of women who make it into firms (45% of associates) is roughly equal to the number who go to law school (47% of law students). We're therefore looking at a 25% gap (since 20% of the partners at firms are women), and I think it would be crazy to attribute a majority of that to sexist biases.

Actually, 15% of BigLaw equity partners are women, not 20%. Source: I am involved with attorney recruiting and development at an AmLaw 100 firm.

Can you source? NALP is suggesting that in 2011 (and 2010) it was 19.x% for each size of law firm (<100,101-250,etc.). Maybe it's changed since then? Seems unlikely, but it's possible
http://www.nalp.org/2011_law_firm_diversity

iamgeorgebush wrote:Edit: Maybe you're talking about the gap between female associates and female partners? Yes, that must be where you're getting the 25% figure. In that case, it's still wrong. The change from 45% to 20% would be -55.6%, and the change from 45% to 15% (the real numbers) would be -66.7%.

Edit 2: Made an Excel thing illustrating the above. HTH.

Image


I think he just wanted to use basis points - which probably makes the most sense in this kind of comparison anyway - and this was the quickest way to state it. Feel free to correct, reg




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