by Susan Hansen
Only a wild-eyed optimist would have expected the American Bar Association’s new study on women of color in law firms to produce a headline like this: “Law Firms Make Miraculous Strides on Inclusiveness!” Or this: “Law Firm Gender and Color Gap Finally Closed!”
Paulette Brown and Arin Reeves, the ABA study’s co-chairs, certainly weren’t counting on such cheery news when they got started on the project three years ago. A good thing, too, since the results would have left them sorely disappointed.
One major impetus for the study was a 1999 report from NALP (formerly the National Association for Law Placement) showing that 100 percent of female minority lawyers left their jobs in private law firms within eight years of being hired. The ABA Commission on Women in the Profession had asked Brown and Reeves to get to the bottom of why so many African-American, Hispanic, Native American and Asian-American women wanted out. (more…)