Friday, September 11, 2020
American Lawyer, Why They Left: Black Lawyers on Why Big Law Can't Keep Them Around:
Big Law is failing Black lawyers. The stories of those who have left can help explain why.
Black attorneys are—and have always been—significantly underrepresented in the legal profession, more so than Latino and Asian American lawyers. Despite comprising more than 13% of the U.S. population, less than 2% of Big Law partners are Black, according to ALM data.
Several Black lawyers who left large law firms described to The American Lawyer the challenges they encountered, even while acknowledging that new opportunities played an important role in drawing them away from their firms, whether toward a nonprofit, an in-house legal department or a new firm. But that factor does not absolve their firms or the industry. Ultimately, they each left because they felt they had gone as far as they could go within their firm. Faced with a lack of mentorship, or an unattainable promotion to partner, or cultural isolation, they joined the scores of Black attorneys who leave Big Law each year.