In 2011, the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group introduced an initiative focused on the retention and advancement of diverse associates. The group recognized that the ability to generate a book of business and be indispensable to client relationships was critical for diverse lawyers to advance in large law firms. Key to establishing those relationships and ultimately a book of business is hands-on instruction in what it takes to be a rainmaker. The Rainmaker Mentor Program was designed to address the lack of access diverse attorneys often have to the networks, contacts and business relationships all attorneys need to ascend to partnership.
Research studies by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) and the American Bar Association suggest two significant reasons for high attrition rates among diverse attorneys in large law firms: (1) firms fail to fully integrate diverse attorneys into the organization; and (2) diverse attorneys are not afforded full and equal access to the work, resources and relationships that are critical to the success of any lawyer. A 2009 study by the MCCA highlights differing perceptions between demographic groups about client development and relationship opportunities in large law firms. Seventy-three percent of white lawyers reported being satisfied with opportunities to participate in business development efforts with important firm clients, compared to 58 percent of minority lawyers. Twenty-two percent of minority lawyers felt excluded from informal networking opportunities, compared to 11 percent of white lawyers. A study by Catalyst similarly showed that minority lawyers reported overall dissatisfaction with business development opportunities.
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