Today’s depressing internet news for black people is that they’re not going to make partner at a large law firm in a major city. Well, black people probably already know that, but a new study making the rounds today emphasizes that point for those who haven’t been paying attention.
African-Americans make up only 1.9% of the partners at the nation’s top 100 law firms, according to American Lawyer. That number has barely changed in five years. If you are an African-American woman, you should probably not even bother. Only one of every 170 top law firm partners is a black female.
In general, the legal profession is a bad place for black people. Only 4.2% of American attorneys are black, compared with 7.1% of doctors and 8.5% of financial managers. So if you are a rich person, you are basically more likely to have a black person fix your heart so you can live long enough to spend all the money he’s made for you then you are to have him write your will.
Why is this? We can’t know for sure, but in law, advancing in your career has more to do with what white people think of you than anything else…
The Dewey debacle is unfolding in real time on this and other sites. People’s lives are being shattered as a firm gets shuttered. It is not the first, and certainly not the last, time that a major law firm with thousands of employees will disappear into so much ether. I look back on my OCI days, and can rattle off several former NYC firms that have either merged into unrecognizability, or disappeared like Dewey is in the process of doing.
Likewise, not far from where I now sit, is the shell of Eastman Kodak — a company that built a large part of this town, and will likely become a shameful case study in the annals of business school textbooks. And yesterday, news went out that my own company is beginning another round of VRIF severance offers.
Regardless of whether you are sitting comfortably in-house, collecting pay from Biglaw, or wondering how in Hell you’re going to find a summer job, news like that mentioned above is disquieting. The main reason is that there isn’t anything that can be done. One day you’re employed, and then, well, you may not be. And there is really no place for schadenfreude in a “there but for the grace of God” economy. Careers can be dissolved as quickly as Dewey.
So, when you are forced to enter an applicant pool of thousands of other attorneys looking for a break in a seemingly unsolvable code of hiring, what can you do to set yourself apart? One possible strategy that has become a hot button issue in the past days is to claim minority status on your application. The obvious dilemma that you face as applicant number two thousand twenty-eight is whether to check such status if your lineage may or may not support the claim….
If this guy wins the Republican nomination, we can agree that the Tea Party was totally overhyped, right?
* So, just so we’re all clear, Republicans running for President are no longer on board with the Voting Rights Act. Happy Martin Luther King Day. [Election Law Blog]
* It’s not like there are no more voting issues where we might want to have federal oversight of state laws that affect the electoral power of minorities in states that have been historically opposed to such things. For instance, where do your prisoners live for the purposes of redistricting? [New York Times]
* I’ll tell you what happens in a world where college kids can “major” in law and take the bar, yet law schools still exist: law schools will continue to operate as they have been, and “law majors” will be the new “must get” credentials for paralegals. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Every time I ask this question, I feel like a horrible person. But it’s a legitimate question: what are the legal ramifications when a race car driver dies while performing a sport that is only interesting because there’s a chance somebody will die? [Legal Blitz]
* Why won’t Mitt Romney show us his taxes? We just want to be envious, Mittens! Feed our envy. [Going Concern]
* I think I should be nominated for this public interest award. Nobody has done more to prevent lawyers from being taken advantage of than me. [American Constitution Society]
* Breaking down the Joe Paterno interview. [Atlantic]
* Now these are some guys that believe in the gold standard. [MyFoxDC]
* As Copyranter said when he emailed this link about the iPoo: “C&D coming in 3, 2, 1…” [Copyranter]
There are a lot of unhappy lawyers. We all know that. Part of their discontent is due to the fact that many young people go to law school who may not want to be lawyers, or do not take the time during law school to figure out what type of practice best fits their personality and goals. It was for this reason that I was so excited to learn about Steven Harper’s class for pre-law students. Getting to potential law students before they take on an obscene amount of debt is one way to prevent accidental lawyers.
But what about those individuals who actually want to be lawyers, but due to certain biases are not able to pursue their dreams? The answer is the same: get to them in college….
It seems like such a simple proposition: if a police officer stops you, he has to have a reason. He doesn’t have to have to be right. He doesn’t even need a particularly good reason. He just needs a legitimate reason.
And the reason can’t be based on the color of a person’s skin.
Why is this simple rule so hard for our law enforcement officers to understand? Why do they resist it? Why do they get defensive when civilians ask them to state their legitimate reasons (if any) for pulling somebody over? Why do police act like the motivations of the police are beyond questioning? Why can’t they answer a direct question about their reasons for pulling people over?
The reason can’t be based on the color of a person’s skin.
Why is it so hard for some police officers and administrators to accept that? Why does the Department of Justice need to send threatening letters to the LAPD, reminding them that they have to actually investigate claims of racial profiling and harassment?
Ra the Sun God could be seeking revenge on the Hebrews
The new school year is off to a rocky start at Cardozo and NYU Law. One school is dealing with a rash of anti-Semitism, while the other can’t seem to execute basic building maintenance.
If you had to guess which school was dealing with hate speech against Jews, you’d guess Cardozo, right? Since Cardozo is the law school for Yeshiva University, it would be at least logical if anti-Semites focused their energies there. But you’d be wrong; never assume hate-mongers are able to form and execute logical thoughts. This year’s early anti-Semitism is happening at NYU, as the New York Post reports:
The NYPD Hate Crimes task force is investigating an anti-Semitic scrawl at NYU Law.
Cleaning staff found “Damn Orthodox Jews” scrawled in a first-floor men’s room at 40 Washington Square South at 1:45 p.m. Monday.
Cops are poring over surveillance videos.
Forty Washington Square South is the address of the main NYU Law building. It’s probably not the #1 address where Orthodox Jews gather to learn about the law, but expecting a graffiti-scrawling hatemonger to be able to grasp even basic facts is like asking a dog to know not to lick his ass in public.
Meanwhile, the New York City law school most strongly associated with Orthodox Jews is dealing with an altogether different kind of oppression….
Unusual, you say? Well, when you click on that link, aren’t you expecting something really outside the box? Maybe they picked a CEO with no private sector experience? Maybe they picked a CEO who used to be in the CIA? Maybe they picked Triumph the Insult Comic Dog? You know, something “unusual.”
But no, here’s the interesting twist to this story:
Detroit-based firm Lewis & Munday, which was founded in 1972 by David Baker Lewis and two African-American partners, named partner Blair Person as its new president and CEO this month… some might find it curious to learn that Person is white.
That’s it? A law firm elected a white guy to be CEO. That’s news? That’s unusual?
Wait, let me back up a second. Aside from the fact that black people founded the place, what the hell makes this an “African-American” law firm? I don’t think you’d see a headline in 2010 calling Wachtell a “Jewish” law firm. And what in God’s name is unusual about black owners selecting a white person to run their business? In short, what the hell is going here?
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.