Article by Christine Willard on moral, business interests raise awareness of differences. National Association for Law Placement showed 3.71 percent of minority attorney are partners in major law firms, an incremental increase from previous year.
CAREER COUNSELOR’S CORNER 1.800. 973. 1177 Law firms focus on minority hiring [Christine Willard] Moral, business interests raise awareness of differences. Despite hits to hiring in general because of direct impact on the output into the profes- departments, deans of the state’s four law the economic downturn, major law firms sion. schools and representatives of other bar across the country are under pressure to associations in the state, including the three continue efforts to diversify their legal staffs. With larger numbers of minority law stu- minority bar associations, attended. dents, “the hiring base is much broader, “There’s the case for doing it because it’s giving us an available pool of talent that in- Bourne’s goals are twofold: to increase the the right thing to do, and then there is the evitably leads to a greater mix,” Dreizer said. minority representation in the state bar and case that it is good for business,” said James to encourage greater participation from Bourne, president of the Indiana State Bar Cynthia-Clare Tagoe, a native of Ghana who minority members who currently belong. Association. He has made increasing minor- joined White, Case as an associate after she Acknowledging and embracing the difference ity involvement a goal of his tenure. received her J.D. from Case Western Reserve a minority person brings to the firm helps University School of Law in 2001,said diver- make minority attorneys more comfortable “Our clients, especially large corporations, sity is welcomed at that firm. and get their careers on track, participants are requiring the law firms they work with heard. Having a mentor, whether a minority to provide them with statistical information “It takes all kinds to make what we do work, or not, is important. and encouraging the assignment of minor- in all legal markets around the world,” she ity attorneys to their matters,” said Alison said. The economic downturn has reduced turn- Dreizen, partner in charge of diversity at over as well as total hiring. Junior associates White, Case in New York City. Retaining attorneys of color is as crucial as are staying in their first jobs longer. hiring them. At White, Case, a new program That firm has about 1,600 attorneys, more randomly assigns a coach to every associate “Firms are focused on having their classes than half of them in offices outside the to answer questions and guide their careers. be as representative as possible,” Dreizer United States. The firm organizes attorneys into small said. “It gives hope that in 10 or 15 years, we practice areas. won’t be talking about this subject.” The National Association for Law Place- ment’s most recent study, released last fall, “It’s harder to get lost in the crunch,” This story appeared in the September, 2003 showed that 3.71 percent of minority attorney Dreizen said. edition of The National Jurist, www.nation- are partners in major law firms, an incre- aljurist.com mental increase from the previous year. Diversity training focused on law firms be- gins this fall at the leadership level. “The profession has not achieved its goal to have representation that equates to repre- “Experimentation helps each firm determine sentation in law school classes,” said Jerry what is going to work best for them in reten- Nash, deputy director of NALP. tion,” Dreizen said. He pointed to the June Supreme Court deci- Indiana’s Bourne was the driving force in a sion affirming the University of Michigan recent Diversity Summit. Managing part- School of Law’s admission policy, saying the ners from firms with 10 or more members, focus on the front-end of admissions has a managers of corporate and government legal PAGE 1
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