How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

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fumagalli
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How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby fumagalli » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:27 pm

I'm a prospective LS student who's Asian (international) and I've heard so many stories (like, five) on how hard it is for asian males to do well in Biglaw. They say the complications come not with the work but with relationships. (probably because Biglaw is white-Jewish dominant?)

Any insight on this issue would be helpful.
Last edited by fumagalli on Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tnguy03
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby tnguy03 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:32 pm

The problem lies more in people thinking there is a problem with being an Asian Male than being an actual Asian Male. If you are good, sociable, and confident, it doesn't matter. If you are an Asian Male and you are worrying about being an Asian Male, then this is going to affect how you interact with people and just being a well-adjusted lawyer.

Bottom line, don't worry about it. Be normal, personable, and get your work done.

fumagalli
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby fumagalli » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:39 pm

tnguy03 wrote:The problem lies more in people thinking there is a problem with being an Asian Male than being an actual Asian Male. If you are good, sociable, and confident, it doesn't matter. If you are an Asian Male and you are worrying about being an Asian Male, then this is going to affect how you interact with people and just being a well-adjusted lawyer.

Bottom line, don't worry about it. Be normal, personable, and get your work done.


Maybe you're right, but the stories I've heard suggested that it's something deeper than that. They say it's not about being social or not, but more about being "one of them". That is, in order to move up the ladder you need to be in that group of people where there's someone to help you. Being Asian (and not white) by itself, they say, seems to have an affect on whether you will be in that group or not.

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fatduck
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby fatduck » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:40 pm

tnguy03 wrote:The problem lies more in people thinking there is a problem with being an Asian Male than being an actual Asian Male. If you are good, sociable, and confident, it doesn't matter. If you are an Asian Male and you are worrying about being an Asian Male, then this is going to affect how you interact with people and just being a well-adjusted lawyer.

Bottom line, don't worry about it. Be normal, personable, and get your work done.

heres a clue

ksllaw
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby ksllaw » Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:44 pm

Are there studies on the topic? I know, for example, there's been research done on "stereotype threat" for the performance of African Americans in academic environments.

It sounded quite plausible to me and I wonder whether there might be something similar for Asian American males in law...or anyone in any environment, where:

i.) they are a minority
ii.) there has historically been few people of their background in that area/profession
iii.) there are stereotypes (real or perceieved) about them and their ability in that environment

?

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bk1
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby bk1 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:55 pm

ksllaw wrote:ii.) there has historically been few people of their background in that area/profession


While this is historically true of Asians, there has been a huge shift. Look at the NALP ethnicity forms for various biglaw firms. While there are few Asian partners, Asians make up a disproportionate percentage of SA class sizes. Looking at just the V10, Asians are always at least 10% of their SA class and for some upwards of 25%. Keep in mind that Asians only make up about 6% of the population. And I would expect these percentages to be higher in places like CA where Asians make up a higher percentage of the population than on the east coast.

I doubt Asian-American males have a problem as associates in biglaw today. There might be an issue of making partner but if that does exist I would expect it to fade. What I think the real issue is whether international Asians have a problem and that might be true. Growing up in a different culture and/or having an accent can be an impediment, but honestly I doubt there is much of an issue unless there is a huge struggle with English. Granted, I could be wrong on that count.

RickyDnwhyc
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby RickyDnwhyc » Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:27 pm

fumagalli wrote:I'm a prospective LS student who's Asian (international) and I've heard so many stories (like, five) on how hard it is for asian males to do well in Biglaw. They say the complications come not with the work but with relationships. (probably because Biglaw is white-Jewish dominant?)

Any insight on this issue would be helpful.


Prospective LS student here.

I used to worry about this too. Obviously the ideal person to chime in here would be an asian male working in Biglaw (ideally international, not asian-american). But since that hasn't happened yet I'll give ya my opinion.

bk1 is right, times have definitely changed. I'm saying that from pure intuition, I don't even need to look at statistics. I don't think being asian holds you back AT ALL unless you're dealing with some SERIOUS bigots(which I'm SURE are out there, but rare, and often outnumbered by normal people).

As people have said before... it's really a self fulfilling prophecy. If you walk into a firm thinking "they're all going to hate me cause I'm asian", you will REEK of insecurity and you will be facing an uphill battle from there. As long as you can do your job, and you're not ferociously awkward to talk to, most people will like you... just my guess.

Be as "normal" as possible. Get accent reduction training if you need it. Bottom line: This is nowhere near a serious enough issue to discourage you from practicing law.

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fatduck
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby fatduck » Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:59 pm

RickyDnwhyc wrote:Be as "normal" as possible. Get accent reduction training if you need it. Bottom line: This is nowhere near a serious enough issue to discourage you from practicing law.

:shock:

fumagalli
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby fumagalli » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:16 am

fatduck wrote:
RickyDnwhyc wrote:Be as "normal" as possible. Get accent reduction training if you need it. Bottom line: This is nowhere near a serious enough issue to discourage you from practicing law.

:shock:

I don't have an accent. I'm very fluent actually.

I'll bump this for an Asian Biglaw associate to chime in. (very unlikely, I know)

Perilux
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby Perilux » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:55 am

Yup, in some places, under some partners, it's tough to move up as an outsider. It doesn't matter whether you're Asian, black, latino, female and/or German. But there will be ignorant people in any profession. But as previously mentioned statistics have shown, Asian Americans are making up a far larger pool of the new lawyers coming in. As long as you are a normal person and do a little research into where you want to work to avoid a hostile environment, you'll be fine.

And just to add an anecdote because I can: I'm working at a biglaw firm in Northern California with a lots of partners and associates who classify themselves as Asian. One of the most well-respected members of the firm is also Asian American. My summer associate class was about 25% Asian American.

fumagalli
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby fumagalli » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:51 am

Perilux wrote:Yup, in some places, under some partners, it's tough to move up as an outsider. It doesn't matter whether you're Asian, black, latino, female and/or German. But there will be ignorant people in any profession. But as previously mentioned statistics have shown, Asian Americans are making up a far larger pool of the new lawyers coming in. As long as you are a normal person and do a little research into where you want to work to avoid a hostile environment, you'll be fine.

And just to add an anecdote because I can: I'm working at a biglaw firm in Northern California with a lots of partners and associates who classify themselves as Asian. One of the most well-respected members of the firm is also Asian American. My summer associate class was about 25% Asian American.


Wow, thanks for the input.

One question, do Asian Americans stick together as much as people in the Jewish community?

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BruceWayne
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby BruceWayne » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:16 am

Realistically, minorities don't don't do well in biglaw in general. That's just the nature of the profession. I think a huge part of it rests on the fact that much of your success in law depends on subjective factors that are very difficult, if not impossible, for an associate to control (having a partner take you on as a mentee, being invited to the golf games and other social events where big time clients connect with lawyers, being exposed to more than just doc review/due diligence). Not having a partner take the extra time to mentor/look out for you is a death blow.

Oban
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby Oban » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:42 am

Alot more asians and minorites enter big law thesedays, but few become partners. While the majority of all SAs will never make partner, It's probably statistically harder being a minority, especially when you don't have partners who "identify" with you to help you along. I've seen this first hand during callbacks and on the job. People just like people that are similar to themselves.

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BruceWayne
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby BruceWayne » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:45 am

Oban wrote:Alot more asians and minorites enter big law thesedays, but few become partners. While the majority of all SAs will never make partner, It's probably statistically harder being a minority, especially when you don't have partners who "identify" with you to help you along. I've seen this first hand during callbacks and on the job. People just like people that are similar to themselves.


Exactly. Making partner is an even less realistic goal for a minority at a biglaw firm than it is for Caucasian associates--and considering how low odds are even for them, that's really saying something.

LSATNightmares
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby LSATNightmares » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:46 am

Perilux wrote:Yup, in some places, under some partners, it's tough to move up as an outsider. It doesn't matter whether you're Asian, black, latino, female and/or German. But there will be ignorant people in any profession. But as previously mentioned statistics have shown, Asian Americans are making up a far larger pool of the new lawyers coming in. As long as you are a normal person and do a little research into where you want to work to avoid a hostile environment, you'll be fine.

And just to add an anecdote because I can: I'm working at a biglaw firm in Northern California with a lots of partners and associates who classify themselves as Asian. One of the most well-respected members of the firm is also Asian American. My summer associate class was about 25% Asian American.


Ditto. If you work, say, in California, you will find lots of male Asian partners. I have already interviewed with two Asian partners in San Francisco firms. But if you go to, say, firms on the East Coast, they tend to be very Caucasian. It doesn't mean you can't advance there. But it's more homogenous.

fumagalli
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby fumagalli » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:03 am

BruceWayne wrote:
Oban wrote:Alot more asians and minorites enter big law thesedays, but few become partners. While the majority of all SAs will never make partner, It's probably statistically harder being a minority, especially when you don't have partners who "identify" with you to help you along. I've seen this first hand during callbacks and on the job. People just like people that are similar to themselves.


Exactly. Making partner is an even less realistic goal for a minority at a biglaw firm than it is for Caucasian associates--and considering how low odds are even for them, that's really saying something.


:cry:

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iMisto
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby iMisto » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:05 am

I'm actually quite worried about this issue. As a gay male, who tends to be less masculine at times, I'm terrified about OCI and my job prospects. I'm also 5'4" and a buck 30. :x

Though, I am super social and have never had problems before. Guess the ol' boys club is different though..?

fumagalli
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby fumagalli » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:11 am

iMisto wrote:I'm actually quite worried about this issue. As a gay male, who tends to be less masculine at times, I'm terrified about OCI and my job prospects. I'm also 5'4" and a buck 30. :x

Though, I am super social and have never had problems before. Guess the ol' boys club is different though..?


This has nothing to do with you. We're talking about Asian Americans not gay people.

conc ashout
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby conc ashout » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:32 am

fumagalli wrote:
iMisto wrote:I'm actually quite worried about this issue. As a gay male, who tends to be less masculine at times, I'm terrified about OCI and my job prospects. I'm also 5'4" and a buck 30. :x

Though, I am super social and have never had problems before. Guess the ol' boys club is different though..?


This has nothing to do with you. We're talking about Asian Americans not gay people.


This is exactly the same issue. People generally seek out people they view as similar to themself. On top of this, having a shared cultural background background means having similar topics of conversation to fall back. To the extent the shared cultural (or sub-cultural) background differs, there generally be less of an immediate comraderae.

This is not to say its impossible to overcome. People with different backgrounds will just have to spend a little time picking up the cultural memes of the dominant group. I'm not saying its fair, but human nature isn't.

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iMisto
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby iMisto » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:38 am

conc ashout wrote:
fumagalli wrote:
iMisto wrote:I'm actually quite worried about this issue. As a gay male, who tends to be less masculine at times, I'm terrified about OCI and my job prospects. I'm also 5'4" and a buck 30. :x

Though, I am super social and have never had problems before. Guess the ol' boys club is different though..?


This has nothing to do with you. We're talking about Asian Americans not gay people.


This is exactly the same issue. People generally seek out people they view as similar to themself. On top of this, having a shared cultural background background means having similar topics of conversation to fall back. To the extent the shared cultural (or sub-cultural) background differs, there generally be less of an immediate comraderae.

This is not to say its impossible to overcome. People with different backgrounds will just have to spend a little time picking up the cultural memes of the dominant group. I'm not saying its fair, but human nature isn't.


Thank you for responding before I did. I almost lost my shit. 8)

fumagalli
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby fumagalli » Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:08 am

iMisto wrote:
conc ashout wrote:
fumagalli wrote:
iMisto wrote:I'm actually quite worried about this issue. As a gay male, who tends to be less masculine at times, I'm terrified about OCI and my job prospects. I'm also 5'4" and a buck 30. :x

Though, I am super social and have never had problems before. Guess the ol' boys club is different though..?


This has nothing to do with you. We're talking about Asian Americans not gay people.


This is exactly the same issue. People generally seek out people they view as similar to themself. On top of this, having a shared cultural background background means having similar topics of conversation to fall back. To the extent the shared cultural (or sub-cultural) background differs, there generally be less of an immediate comraderae.

This is not to say its impossible to overcome. People with different backgrounds will just have to spend a little time picking up the cultural memes of the dominant group. I'm not saying its fair, but human nature isn't.


Thank you for responding before I did. I almost lost my shit. 8)


ok, I get it.

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facile princeps
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby facile princeps » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:12 am

fumagalli wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:
Oban wrote:Alot more asians and minorites enter big law thesedays, but few become partners. While the majority of all SAs will never make partner, It's probably statistically harder being a minority, especially when you don't have partners who "identify" with you to help you along. I've seen this first hand during callbacks and on the job. People just like people that are similar to themselves.


Exactly. Making partner is an even less realistic goal for a minority at a biglaw firm than it is for Caucasian associates--and considering how low odds are even for them, that's really saying something.


:cry:

Black guy here, and i feel your pain, brother. I'm also a prospective LS. When i go to NALP to browse law firms, i feel intimidated by the lack of representation at times. So much so that i've even wondered whether or not it would be worth it to contact certain firms (OCI bid or mail) when it's time to seek employment. I can't help but to look at the demographics of a firm, and if there are no black SAs or, even worse, full time associates, i wonder if that's a preference on the firm's part. Like you, i don't believe the issue is as superficial as 'thinking' there's a problem in being different from the people who dominate the industry.

Maybe you could check out the directory (NALP) to get an idea of Asian representation.

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Borg
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby Borg » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:31 am

I think it depends a lot on you personally. Do you generally hang out with people of different races in your daily life, or do you stick to hanging out with Asians almost exclusively? If it's the latter, you're probably screwed. When I was in college there were big cliques of Asians, and if one was seen hanging out with people outside of the clique they would catch a lot of dirty looks etc. This was obviously extraordinarily stupid on their part, because most of them failed to adjust to society in general and are now stuck firmly beneath the "bamboo ceiling" in their jobs as they are considered "smart but not leaders/team players" etc., so they are left to crunch numbers. If you're a normal guy who makes friends with other races, you should be fine though. Biglaw generally isn't a racist place.

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BruceWayne
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby BruceWayne » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:25 am

Borg wrote:I think it depends a lot on you personally. Do you generally hang out with people of different races in your daily life, or do you stick to hanging out with Asians almost exclusively? If it's the latter, you're probably screwed. When I was in college there were big cliques of Asians, and if one was seen hanging out with people outside of the clique they would catch a lot of dirty looks etc. This was obviously extraordinarily stupid on their part, because most of them failed to adjust to society in general and are now stuck firmly beneath the "bamboo ceiling" in their jobs as they are considered "smart but not leaders/team players" etc., so they are left to crunch numbers. If you're a normal guy who makes friends with other races, you should be fine though. Biglaw generally isn't a racist place.


:lol: :lol: :lol:

As funny is that is I should consider that to a lot of non-minorities, "isn't racist" is essentially satisfied by not dropping N-bombs etc. while at work and not physically in front of a Black person. Yes by that standard Biglaw generally isn't a racist place.

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Borg
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Re: How do asian american males fare in Biglaw?

Postby Borg » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:35 am

BruceWayne wrote:
Borg wrote:I think it depends a lot on you personally. Do you generally hang out with people of different races in your daily life, or do you stick to hanging out with Asians almost exclusively? If it's the latter, you're probably screwed. When I was in college there were big cliques of Asians, and if one was seen hanging out with people outside of the clique they would catch a lot of dirty looks etc. This was obviously extraordinarily stupid on their part, because most of them failed to adjust to society in general and are now stuck firmly beneath the "bamboo ceiling" in their jobs as they are considered "smart but not leaders/team players" etc., so they are left to crunch numbers. If you're a normal guy who makes friends with other races, you should be fine though. Biglaw generally isn't a racist place.


:lol: :lol: :lol:

As funny is that is I should consider that to a lot of non-minorities, "isn't racist" is essentially satisfied by not dropping N-bombs etc. while at work and not physically in front of a Black person. Yes by that standard Biglaw generally isn't a racist place.


I'm under the impression that you struck out at OCI. Is this true? My firm had many Asian and black partners, and a lot of the firms I interviewed with did as well. I'm not saying racism doesn't exist at all, just that the firms that will work against an Asian guy trying to make partner on the basis of race are probably uncommon.




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