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Isolated, disillusioned, frustrated, misunderstood, uncomfortable, discouraged — those are the most common adjectives that many minority associates sometimes use to describe their reality at large law firms. Such angst, all too often, leads to the premature departure of these associates from the very firms to which they, ironically, worked so hard to gain entrance. To be sure, there are success stories of minority attorneys in large law firms. One example is my colleague Deryck Palmer, an African-American and a significant rainmaking partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. However, Palmer, along with a few others, is the exception, not the rule.

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