It’s no secret that nowadays most associates don’t plan on spending their entire legal career at one law firm. But some associates are more likely to head for the exits than others. Nearly half of all white male midlevel associates say that they expect to be working at their current firm in five years, according to our Minority Experience Study. Just over 40 percent of minority male midlevels said the same. Of the minority female midlevels, though, fewer than a third planned to stay put.

Minority women seem to have more reason to want to leave big firms, according to our findings. This year, for the first time, we looked at both gender and racial patterns in survey responses from midlevel associates about their working life. With some exceptions, we found that midlevels’ assessments of big-firm life track along gender lines more closely than they correlate by race. The gaps in scores were small, and all groups were generally positive about their firms. Still, the score differences added up to a consistent pattern that showed women of color experiencing less satisfaction and more obstacles at large firms than their peers, including men of color.

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