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Instant Insights / Law Firms (Slowly) Improving the Associate Experience

Big Law finally has gotten the memo that keeping associates happy—at least those they want to retain—makes good business sense. For sure, long hours and demanding partners are still a major part of associate life, but firms are recognizing that paying attention to junior lawyers’ needs, whether its career development programs or more time with family, can yield benefits for everyone.

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Aya Salem, Conrad O’Brien

It’s not easy being a young attorney of a diverse background. Much like Rocky was an underdog fighter with hopes of making it in the boxing world without much support, so too do many minority attorneys struggle to find their place in the legal market today.

Since I began law school about a decade ago, diversity has been a hot topic among law firms and legal departments. Partially in response to a demand for diversity by clients in corporate America and partially recognizing the benefits of diversity themselves, more law firms have been investing in diversity initiatives. Many law firms, for example, participate in diversity job fairs for the opportunity to recruit minority and other diverse students. It was through one of these job fairs that I interviewed with Conrad O’Brien and hired as a summer associate. I was ultimately offered a full-time position, which I accepted, and I remain with Conrad O’Brien today, more than eight years later. But my experience is not typical.

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