I found it unnerving to read Kaloma Cardwell’s complaint against Davis Polk & Wardwell for racial discrimination. It wasn’t because Cardwell unveiled the esteemed firm as some sinister establishment populated with bigots.

Quite the contrary. Cardwell depicts a firm that prides itself on being aware of racial and gender inequities in the workplace and strives to address them. At the same time, though, the firm comes across as a club in which some people are admitted and others quietly frozen out—for whatever reason.

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