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This letter responds to your recent article of Oct. 21 titled, “ Study Finds Mixed Bag in Minority Hiring.” While it is true that Asian-Americans have seen the most significant gains in associate hiring over the past decade and a half, the BASF diversity report also points out that Asian-Americans face the greatest barriers with regard to associate retention. In fact, Asian-American partner-to-associate ratios are close to half that for African-Americans and Latinos and one-fifth that for whites. By not reporting all of the critical facts highlighted in the BASF report, your article detracts attention from the fact that all minority groups, including Asian-Americans, are missing from the ranks of law firm leadership in San Francisco. This omission also perpetuates harmful stereotyping of Asian-Americans that has often cast them as “model minorities.” This “model minority” myth makes it easy to overshadow the fact that Asian-Americans have yet to attain the level of social equality experienced by whites. Statewide, Asian-Americans still fall far behind whites in every socio-economic category except household income. Asian-Americans, however, average a far higher number of income earners per household than do whites (see “The Diverse Face of Asian and Pacific Islanders in California,” www.asianlawcaucus.org, for a summary of 2000 Census data supporting the above). Furthermore, Asian-American subgroups, particularly those identified with Southeast Asia, continue to face the highest levels of poverty, educational attainment and overcrowded housing in the state (see The Diverse Face). The Asian-American Bar Association applauds the progress that law firms have made in Asian-American hiring over the past 15 years. We also recognize and support BASF’s call to focus more attention on the critical need for increased African-American and Latino associate hiring. We cannot ignore, however, BASF’s equally pressing recommendation that increasing minority leadership in San Francisco law firms has been and continues to be a serious problem for all minority groups, including Asian-Americans. Malcolm Yeung San Francisco Editor’s note: BASF’s 44-page, single-space diversity report covered an enormous range of issues, including diversity gains at large firms, mid-sized firms and government law offices; successful strategies for improving diversity; and the attitudes of firm management and minority attorneys, among many other things. The challenge of retaining Asian-American attorneys was indeed mentioned, though no more nor less than many of these other issues. It was discussed in three short, separate paragraphs over the course of the 44-page report. We certainly do not wish to detract attention from the issue, nor do we wish to perpetuate minority stereotyping. However, covering every important topic in the report would have required several pages of newsprint. You can send Letters to the Editor to The Recorder, 10 United Nations Plaza, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102; by fax at (415) 749-5549; or at [email protected].

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