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More than three decades ago, Merle Vaughn graduated from what is now Berkeley Law and went straight to work at Cooley. She liked the firm (and still does), but as a Black woman, she found it wasn’t a good situation for her. She wasn’t given the same resources to succeed as some of her colleagues—mentorship, a role on the right cases—and within three years, despite a pedigree anyone would envy, she left Big Law.

“Now that I’m a recruiter,” said Vaughn, who is managing director and national law firm diversity practice leader at Major, Lindsey & Africa, “I hear my story over and over and over again. In all these years, very little has changed.”

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Ben Seal

Ben Seal is managing editor of The American Lawyer. He joined the magazine in February 2018, and previously spent five years working for The Legal Intelligencer, editing the paper's magazines and supplements and reporting on Pennsylvania's state courts, legislature and Attorney General's Office. Contact him at bseal@alm.com or @BSealTAL.

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