While the Recession Has Slowed Diversity Efforts at Some Firms, Two Partnerships Push Forward with Persistence and Innovation

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While the legal profession has made strides in the last decade or so in hiring and promoting minority, women, and lesbian and gay attorneys, diversity efforts at many firms have waned since the recession hit, according to several sources and a recent survey.

Yet, despite the recession and the trend among some partnerships to cut back resources for and commitments to diversity—as quietly as they can—some firms (including two featured later in this article) have shown that law firm management can effectively initiate programs and strategic approaches to reach out and retain diverse attorneys, even in this economy.

Every couple of years since the mid-1990 Of Counsel has examined and reexamined the important issue of diversity within law firms, primarily because of the legal profession’s inability to keep pace with advancements that other industries have made in this regard. Not all of that reporting has been negative; we’ve reported on successful mentoring programs, the emergence of diversity managers at firms, and other efforts to make the historically whitemale-dominated profession “look more like America.”

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