QContinuum wrote: ↑
Wed May 13, 2020 8:12 pm
There's no question BigLaw remains (heterosexual, conventionally attractive) white male-dominated, but I have a hard time believing your boutique literally has 100% heterosexual white male partners.
Anonymous User wrote: ↑
Wed May 13, 2020 7:31 pm
Ironically, my boutique firm's partnership has virtually no diverse partners. Seriously. I don't personally know or work for any of them. I only work for white male partners.
If there's even one minority partner, you can/should reach out to him/her regardless whether you've ever spoken to them before. They don't need to be the same ethnicity as you - even if, say, you're black, and they're Middle Eastern, you're still in the same boat of both being minorities at the firm. You can also consider reaching out to a female partner - this is especially the case if you're a woman, but even if you're a man, still worth giving it a shot.
Okay - you lost me here. Conventionally attractive? I'm a guy, so maybe I'm not in the best position to judge other men's looks, but there were very few objectively attractive white males in law school. Law school at a T14 was literally revenge of the nerds where the guys that couldn't get girls in high school tried to impress women in law school with how smart they were or how high up they were in class rankings. Those same students became lawyers, partners, etc. And they didn't look like Brad Pitt.
Also, I want to touch on the subject of white women. I've found that they are the least sympathetic group to reach out to. I hate generalizing, but that's been my experience. I have had one white woman take an interest in my career. She's amazing and definitely amongst my close mentors.
But, by and large, I've had much more success with white male partners. I can bond over sports (I know cliche), male privilege, etc. with them. It's much easier to fit in, especially if you have some social skills.
White women, on the other hand, think that they have it tougher than male minorities. I've heard it from them, especially more conservative white women. They aren't empathetic of male minorities and their inability to fit in or network because they are still male. So, you have the biggest group of potentially sympathetic lawyers at the firm, who are not sympathetic at all. There's also the factor that they think they have to work so much harder than everyone.
Black women have it even tougher. They can't fit in with the white males. And the white females generally aren't that interested in mentoring women that don't look like them. Again, these are anecdotal generalizations from my career and conversations with other minorities.
So, they have the worst of both worlds. White women will mentor other white women to the exclusion of other minorities (because they choose to work with those that look like them) and they have a hard time fitting in with the males.
I know black women who actually have much greater success with white male partners than white female partners because there isn't a perceived competition element in this dynamic. The male parter is not threatened and the black female partner is able to cultivate some sort of mentorship relationship.
So, all the talk about going to white females should be disregarded, imo. The best place to go for minorities is, ironically, the white male partners. Not all will be receptive, but a lot will. Quite frankly, they aren't threatened. Then, I'd go for the white female partners. There are always good people in the bunch. YMMV depending on firm, culture, ect. It's very possible to go to an all white firm where everyone is willing to mentor regardless of what you look like and implicit biases they may hold.
Also, white LGBT people are not necessarily allies either. I have a lot of friends in the LGBT community. But just because you have a different sexual preference does not mean that you're an ally. There's also different dynamics amongst the minority groups. Indians and East Asian's often grow resentful of blacks and hispanics due to these groups getting more resources. The model minority myth also stymies their development. They're given work above their level and assumed to be competent. Then, they are held back in social situations and speaking roles. This happens. And they sometimes feel that their issues aren't heard because there's way more emphasis on URMs in the workplace/law school. I've had lots of good allies in those communities, however.
Btw, as I said before, I'm a black male fifth year at a Biglaw firm. I've worked in two different offices of that same firm and my experiences have been exactly the same. I'm not going to assume, but I can almost guarantee that the people putting white women in the same category as URMs and/or are calling them allies are not a URM.
In sum, OP, I'd say go after the white male partners and try to break in more there. Of course, diverse partners are best, but sounds like you don't have that option. After that, Idk, maybe try for some female partners that seem friendly. Try to target the liberals. Good luck.