Editor’s Note: This story is adapted from ALM’s Mid-Market Report. For more business of law coverage exclusively geared toward midsize firms, sign up for a free trial subscription to ALM’s weekly newsletter, The Mid-Market Report.

More than three decades ago, Merle Vaughn graduated from what is now Berkeley Law and went straight to work at Cooley. She liked the firm (and still does), but as a Black woman, she found it wasn’t a good situation for her. She wasn’t given the same resources to succeed as some of her colleagues—mentorship, a role on the right cases—and within three years, despite a pedigree anyone would envy, she left Big Law.

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