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Author Topic: Big Law AA  (Read 5352 times)

philibusters

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Big Law AA
« on: April 19, 2006, 01:15:00 PM »
Hmm, From posting around here and reading other people's comments its not hard to come with several reasons why higher education institutions use AA, but why Big Law?  To some extent I understand that Big Law companies need to look legit in our multi-racial society, so that its partly about image (and image is everything in the highly competitive field of law), but our there other factors that I am not thinking of?
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George JeffersonČ

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Re: Big Law AA
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2006, 01:18:25 PM »
Hmm, From posting around here and reading other people's comments its not hard to come with several reasons why higher education institutions use AA, but why Big Law?  To some extent I understand that Big Law companies need to look legit in our multi-racial society, so that its partly about image (and image is everything in the highly competitive field of law), but our there other factors that I am not thinking of?

Assuming Biglaw uses AA. I have not seen compelling evidence. Care to share some?
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dbgirl

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Re: Big Law AA
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2006, 01:20:08 PM »
I don't know if I would call it AA, but there is an effort, I hear, to gain some diversity in big law.
It's mostly about image. From what I understand clients are asking for more diverse attorneys.  It makes the big names like Walmart seem more compassionate, I guess ("See, we like minorities, our attorneys are Black."

Anyway, if anyone wants to hire a person with a diverse background, pm me  ;)

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philibusters

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Re: Big Law AA
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2006, 01:22:08 PM »
Hmm, From posting around here and reading other people's comments its not hard to come with several reasons why higher education institutions use AA, but why Big Law?  To some extent I understand that Big Law companies need to look legit in our multi-racial society, so that its partly about image (and image is everything in the highly competitive field of law), but our there other factors that I am not thinking of?

Assuming Biglaw uses AA. I have not seen compelling evidence. Care to share some?

I don't have any.  That was an assumptioin I made based on what other people ahve wrote in other topics and threads.
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Dunson II

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Re: Big Law AA
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2006, 02:37:11 PM »
I've heard about it anecedotally, I'm not sure how they screen applicants for race with all the lottery systems/grade requirements for OCI, but apparently it does help, I guess at the interview stage.

Diversity is being thrust upon the old boy's club of biglaw by a change in corporate culture overall I think.

pikey

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Re: Big Law AA
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2006, 03:02:44 PM »
my firm has it.  and not just for hiring.  there was a firm-wide email sent out recently about how we're trying to get more minorities in partnership positions.

Saying that they want more minorities in partnership positions is not the same as AA.  Saying that they want more diversity is definitely not proof of AA.  Just because a firm is seeking to hire a specific type of employee does not mean that they would hire them at the expense of all other employees, or that they would hire someone who is unqualified, as many who oppose AA like to imply.
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pikey

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Re: Big Law AA
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2006, 03:12:20 PM »
for the record, I never said I oppose it, I'm just saying it's there.

and if a firm really wants to increase its diversity, it may have to employ AA measures just based on a lack of availability of minority attorneys. my firm is in boston, which is a pretty homogenous city (by urban standards).

That's the key word there.  May does not mean that they definitely use AA, as was stated in your original post.  Also firms use different minorities to exhibit their diversity then universities do.  For example, East Asians would be considered minorities at a firm even though they are not URMs for admission purposes.

BTW, my comment about people who oppose AA was general, not directed at you in particular.
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Angelina1

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Re: Big Law AA
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2006, 03:15:06 PM »
I don't know if I would call it AA, but there is an effort, I hear, to gain some diversity in big law.It's mostly about image. From what I understand clients are asking for more diverse attorneys.  It makes the big names like Walmart seem more compassionate, I guess ("See, we like minorities, our attorneys are Black."

Anyway, if anyone wants to hire a person with a diverse background, pm me  ;)



Yes, I know this for a fact, because my current employer (a very large, prestigious financial firm) has a diversity policy and, like many other big clients, is putting pressure on the law firms they use--actually given them ultimatums--about increasing diversity...or else. My employer is a huge amount of business, and no law firm would want to lose that, even if that means--gasp!--making more women and minorities partners.

I think this is a GOOD thing. Like MoniLi said, making a bigger effort to find and recruit qualified minorities is not the same thing as giving someone who is unqualified the job just because they're a minority. If it means giving the URM candidate the job over a similarly qualified white candidate because you want to increase diversity, I don't see any problem with that, either.

Where I think many law firms still need to have a bit of AA is in the non-golfing community. I refuse to learn how to play golf to get ahead in my career. Then again, I don't want Biglaw  :D
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philibusters

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Re: Big Law AA
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2006, 03:51:27 PM »
Because promotions are more subjective, there might be a greater need for AA in big law.  For exmaple, was there an article last month that said currently half the graduates from top law schools are woman, but only 17% of big law partners are women (though big law partners tend to be older so its not clear what % of top law school graduates were women tweny years ago when they current partners graduated) I also did those numbers off the top of my head, so I may have mis-remembered.  Hiring and promoting seems subjective, so AA could be used to balance biases.

Also what has surprised me is that a couple people say clients are demanding diversity from the law firms.  Wow, that surprises me because I thought they would only care about the bottom line.

Edit:  I googled up the article I remembered, but it was long so I didn't bother to check my facts... http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/19/business/yourmoney/19law.html?ex=1300424400&en=7cd938ca277b02bb&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
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ImVinny!

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Re: Big Law AA
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2006, 06:15:40 PM »
Well, it seems to me that if you are in a case and you are the defendant you would want someone who will win your case, regardless of what race they are. Better is better when it comes to trial.