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Instant Insights / All Eyes on Big Law’s Diversity Problem

The lack of minorities and women at the top of Big Law is not a new situation, but the enduring problem is prompting high-profile discrimination claims against firms and has garnered the attention of mainstream media. In this Instant Insights, we examine the problem and how firms are reacting to the spotlight.

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Right to left: Brad Karp, Chairman, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Laurie Robinson Haden, Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, CBS Corporation; and Zachary Carter, Corporation Counsel, City of New York, at a panel titled “Getting on Equal Footing: Promoting Women’s Equality Through Business Development and Advancement Strategies” at the New York State Bar Association conference at the New York Hilton on Jan. 15, 2018. Photo: David Handschuh/NYLJ.

After close scrutiny of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in The New York Times, the firm’s chairman, Brad Karp, in a firmwide email Sunday took issue with the newspaper’s portrayal and told partners and employees that the firm’s diversity record has exceeded its peer firms.

Karp sent the internal email several hours after the Times published a report Sunday examining Paul Weiss’ diversity struggles, including the controversy generated by its promotion of a notably non-diverse new partner class last month. The Times report described obstacles for women and minority lawyers to succeed and be promoted at Paul Weiss, such as inconsistent approaches to mentoring, business development opportunities and client contact.

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Christine Simmons

Christine Simmons writes about the New York legal community and the business of law. Email her at [email protected] and find her on Twitter @chlsimmons

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