Talking about diversity within law firms has become something of a cottage industry over the past several years. Law firm managers are urged to do better. Consultants analyze, assess, criticize and suggest ways to improve, while many, if not most, within the diverse community (African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latin-Americans and Native Americans) still harshly critique progress as being too slow. Moreover, for those who are diverse — practicing within the profession and, in particular, for those working in corporate law firms that exceed 100 lawyers — there are far more stories of despair than success.
Where do we go from here? In a profession that has seen growth and increased profits among these firms over the past decade, getting to the core issues of how we bring more attorneys from diverse backgrounds into corporate law firms and see that they succeed there must be the next stage of the diversity discussion. In this article, I shall briefly discuss three factors on which diversity efforts must focus — all interdependent and all involving the business of corporate law firms — their lawyers, their management and their clients.
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