YourABA: | Retaining diverse lawyers, eliminating hidden barriers

Retaining diverse lawyers, eliminating hidden barriers

“The open door to diverse attorneys has now become a revolving door,” writes Kathleen Nalty, executive director of the Center for Legal Inclusiveness, in her article, “Inclusiveness in the Legal Profession—Retaining Lawyers of Color,” from a recent issue of the ABA Labor and Employment Law newsletter.

Citing five national research studies completed since 2006, Nalty says that there are hidden barriers at law firms that prevent the advancement of lawyers of color, leading to a much higher rate of attrition for diverse lawyers, compared to their white counterparts. “In some firms, attrition for diverse attorneys is near 100 percent.”

Among hidden barriers found in the studies: exclusion from key work assignments, inadequate mentoring and development opportunities, diminished access to formal networking contacts and fewer opportunities for inclusion among leadership.

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