The goings-on inside law firms reflect what is happening in the larger society.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Learning from One’s Past

Part I: The World, Diversity and Controversy
 
Part II: Diversity in the Legal Practice: What Law Firms Say and What They Do
 
Part III: Serious Solutions
 
Conclusion
 
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

Introduction: Learning from One’s Past

One of the biggest misperceptions attorneys have is that they can practice law on their own terms, being the person they are most comfortable when making hiring decisions being, and still work for a major law firm. I believe law firms expect a high degree of conformity. They do not want their employees to be “too different” because that is unwanted baggage and opens the door to problems involving control. Many law firms want to hire people with whom they feel comfortable, and this means, despite policies to the contrary, they can seek to impose a certain type of uniformity in the way they hire and advance their attorneys.

I have been studying, writing about, working in, and working for law firms for most of my career. As an observer, my interest in law firms has always been why certain people get hired and others do not. As the head of a legal recruiting firm, I work to give people an “edge” with law firms, and I do everything in my power to make sure they get hired. If a law firm says it’s interested in diversity, so am I. I want my candidates to have every advantage they possibly can.