Denise Casper, an African-American attorney and Harvard Law School graduate, thinks she had a good shot at making partner at Boston’s Bingham McCutchen. Senior partners liked her. She had influential mentors. And she did good work, managing partner Jay Zimmerman says. But when Casper was a fourth-year associate, she left anyway, lured by a job as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

“I didn’t leave Bingham because I was unhappy or because I thought I couldn’t advance in the firm,” Casper says. “I left because working in the U.S. Attorney’s Office was something I always wanted to do.”

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