Further, Henderson found no diversity crossover effect: A large concentration of female or Asian partners, for example, does not help recruit African-American associates.
"We would have more African-American [or Hispanic or Asian or female or LGBT] associates if only we had more African-American [or Hispanic or Asian or female or LGBT] partners. But getting more diverse partners will be slow going until we become better at retaining, rather than just recruiting, diverse associates," Henderson wrote.
Even law firms that lack a diverse partnership can provide young minority lawyers with the same guidance that they seek from partners of the same racial group, Henderson says. Law firms improve the odds of minorities making partner when they focus on associate skill development and provide regular, ongoing formative feedback, he says. And so-called "free market" work allocation systems, which provide "uneven or disjointed work flow to junior lawyers," do a disservice to associates and law firms alike, he says.