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Are Big Law Associates Less Concerned With Diversity Than Their Partners?

Stephanie Russell-Kraft biglawbusiness.com

Young Big Law attorneys say they value diversity and inclusion less than partners, according to survey of Above The Law readers released this week. But is that really the case?

In the survey, conducted on the ATL website by legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, 39 percent of associates strongly agreed that diversity should be a priority for law firms, compared to 57 percent of partners. The firm polled more than 1,200 lawyers from 132 different law firms in the U.S., 77.45 percent of which were associates with one to five years of experience. The survey answers weren’t broken down by race/ethnicity or gender, so it’s hard to tell which associates said they cared more about diversity and which said they cared less.

Ru Bhatt, managing director of Major, Lindsey & Africa’s Associate Practice Group, said some partners may be worried about the legal industry’s diversity problem from a business perspective.

“Partners feel the pressure of clients demanding more diverse teams and see the positive impact of these teams, which amounts to an understanding of diversity’s crucial role,” said Bhatt.

“Associates, understandably so, are looking at it from a specific point of view, which is in terms of their own career, perhaps not necessarily putting the entire organization as a whole in perspective,” he added.

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