Law firm partnership announcements provide an opportunity to convey multiple messages. They offer words of congratulations to those who have achieved a hard-earned milestone and showcase a firm’s talent pool to key constituencies.

Another unintended message emerges when photos of the new partners reinforce a lack of diversity in the higher echelons of the profession—hardly a new story, but never a welcome one. We now know well the glacially slow upward trend of women at the lower partnership tiers, and far smaller gains, if any, for lawyers of color. Partnership announcements are an annual visual reminder of this failing.

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