May 09, 2011 Practice Points

New Study Explores Barriers for Corporate Counsel Women of Color

By Sara Dionne

Corporate Counsel Women of Color recently released an interesting study, which found that gender is viewed by in-house attorneys who are women of color as being more of a barrier to advancement than race and/or ethnicity. The findings were based on online survey responses from more than 850 female attorneys of color in legal departments at Fortune1000 companies, as well as 500 live participants and 40 focus group participants. According to the study, 52 percent of the respondents perceived gender as an obstacle, while only 35 percent of respondents perceived race as an obstacle. Corporate Counsel Women of Color founder and CEO, Laurie Robinson, noted that despite perceived obstacles, survey respondents were not deterred from setting high goals for themselves. Ms. Robinson further described the respondent group as having “a very strong sense of self” and feeling “that they had the power to control their destiny.” The study report is available for purchase through Corporate Counsel Women of Color.

Keywords: corporate counsel, gender, race

Sara Dionne works at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in Sacramento, California.

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