The Good Black
By Paul M. Barrett
(Dutton; 296 pages; $23.95)

Ask virtually anyone who has spent (or done) time as an associate at a large law firm to characterize the experience, and you are likely to hear words like “hierarchical,” “inflexible,” “factorylike,” “rigid,” and, in the increasingly up-or-out environment of these firms, “short term.” Although the last decade or so has seen efforts to improve the quality of life for the highly paid but largely fungible associates, including the creation of more “mommy-track” positions and increased diversity through the hiring of more minority attorneys, in large part and for a variety of reasons, these changes have been limited.

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