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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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The Best Law Firms for Diversity

Many  firms have diversity initiatives, mission statements, and recruiters that target diverse candidates; however, that does not necessarily equate to a pleasant work environment for underrepresented affinity groups in the legal profession. Vault recently released the results of an annual survey designed to identify the  Best Law Firms for Diversity.  Responses were received from  nearly 16,000 law firms associates representing approximately 300 law firms. Click the link above for the results.

Some Women are Trading in their Briefcases for Diaper Bags

Is it possible to have a prominent legal career and a family? The answer is an emphatic yes! However, each day we are only given 24 hours. Within those 24 hours, that seem to fly by, each person has varying demands and obligations that he or she must accomplish. The more demands we have the less time we have to devote to each of our responsibilities. A demanding job tends to be coupled with demanding hours. This may mean less time for other things in life. Could this be why About 25 Percent of Lawyer Moms Leave the Workplace, Study Finds – News – ABA Journal? See also, The Opt-Out Revolution – NYTimes.com.