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How the Legal Pipeline is Failing Black Attorneys (Law360)

Law360, July 8, 2019

How the Legal Pipeline is Failing Black Attorneys

“When compared with census data, black attorneys, along with Latino attorneys, remain severely underrepresented in the profession, even at firms that have made strong efforts at diversity, according to the New York City Bar Association. “One of the reasons for the alarm is we’re talking about those law firms most dedicated to making this work, and they’re struggling,” said Roger Maldonado, president of the bar association and a Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP partner. “Even when you marshal resources and take steps, part of the problem is there is not enough of a pool of diverse attorneys.” The bar association recently secured a $65,000 grant from local nonprofit The New York Community Trust to help tackle the issue and plans to survey New York law school graduates of color to learn what helped set them on the course to becoming practicing attorneys. The hope is the study will highlight gaps for the bar association to focus on. “This is a long-term effort. This is not something we’ll start tomorrow and say in two years that we’re done,” Maldonado said. The bar association, along with other bars and nonprofits, is continuing to experiment with ways to support young attorneys of color. In addition to a Thurgood Marshall summer internship that places high school students in positions as paralegal assistants, the bar created its Associate Leadership Institute three years ago to offer mentorship and training to 50 to 60 young attorneys from diverse backgrounds annually.”

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