📝 Women of color are leaving law at a high rate

The ABA shared a bombshell report this week showing that 70% of minority women lawyers either leave or consider leaving law in the middle of their careers. 

  • First, a caveat: The researchers prefaced their data by saying it is not statistically significant because they wanted to find a larger sample size. The statistic is based on a survey of 103 participants who are at least 15 years out of law school.

  • Almost all the respondents faced stereotyping and a steeper path to success: One Black woman said at her firm all the Black attorneys had two Ivy League degrees, while white associates had lower education credentials. Others talked about not getting mentors or feedback from senior attorneys. 

  • Those who stick around shared common reasons: They enjoyed legal work, their financial situations and the way their legal careers fit their overall lifestyles. These reasons were enough to deal with the barriers to progressing in the field.  

Another thing to keep in mind about that caveat

One of the reasons the report’s authors weren’t able to find a better dataset, they noted, was the difficulty of finding minority women who were longtime lawyers. They analogized it to finding minority women equity partners, a hard task considering minority women comprise 2% of big law equity partners. 

The Verdict

The report featured several recommendations for lawyers and firms, and a suggestion that they pay real attention. “We ask that this study not be read and then put on a shelf to be picked up five years from now and ‘surprisingly’ discover nothing has changed, the authors wrote. Read the full report here.