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    Left Out and Left Behind

    By Destiny Peery, Paulette Brown, and Eileen M Letts

    Left Out and Left Behind

    Left Out and Left Behind

    By Destiny Peery, Paulette Brown, and Eileen M Letts

    Left Out and Left Behind: The Hurdles, Hassles, and Heartaches of Achieving Long-Term Legal Careers for Women of Color reveals the experiences and challenges faced by women lawyers of color. Although women of color comprise more than 14% of all associates, the percentage of women of color partners has remained stuck below 3.5%.

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    The report, authored by social scientist Destiny Peery, past ABA president Paulette Brown and Chicago attorney Eileen Letts, shows that women lawyers of color surveyed were far more likely to want to leave the profession than their white colleagues; were more likely to be subjected to both implicit and explicit bias; and to report factors that blocked their "access to success," including access to business development opportunities and being denied or overlooked for promotion.

    An outgrowth of the ABA Initiative on Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law, this study includes input from 103 women of color who had graduated from law school 15 or more years before and participated in an online survey or one of 11 focus groups held in 4 cities.

    The report also includes revealing quotes from those who participated in the focus groups, such as:

    "Having to deal with assumptions of inferiority, intellectual or otherwise, and constantly having to prove myself no matter how senior or qualified or experienced I am is something my white male peers do not have to do. It is psychologically exhausting."
    - mid-40s Black woman

    "As I hear others speak about how they realized what we were up against, I wish I'd had this conversation with all of you about 20 years ago because I have been able to place in context my experiences and have been validated by things that you have all said."
    - 60-year-old Asian woman

    Left Out and Left Behind outlines a number of concrete recommendations for law firms to advance and retain women of color attorneys, including:

    • Adopt best practices for reducing biases in decision-making
    • Improve access to effective, engaged mentors and sponsors
    • Go beyond recruitment to inclusion
    • Incorporate an intersectional approach to addressing diversity and gender
    • Create a more inclusive culture in the legal profession

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    Commission On Women In the Profession



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    Publication Date

    8/26/2020 12:00:00 AM

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