The Momentum for Black Lawyers Might Already Be Fading


Publish Date:
January 20, 2023
Bloomberg Law
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Will Big Law discard its young talent and its commitment to diversity as soon as the market winds shift? That depends on whether you believe that Big Law’s embrace of the social justice movement was a passing fad or something deeper.

“I think people are genuinely concerned, though the intensity of the concern is not so great now,” Richard Banks, a professor at Stanford Law School and co-founder of the Stanford Center for Racial Justice, told me.

“I know firms that genuinely want to create an organization that’s inclusive for all people. … The bigger issue is that these problems are difficult, and good intentions run against hard reality. Putting people on corporate boards is easy, but integrating them into organizations is a lot harder.”

Stanford’s Banks, though, sees a silver lining to the expected demise of affirmative action. “This could lead to more democratization of the profession,” he said.

“Affirmative action has allowed us to labor under delusion that we should only focus on the top schools. It was always about putting the best butts on the most elite seats rather than looking at how stratified the system is. Maybe the end of affirmative action will cause employers to consider hiring from Howard instead of Stanford.”

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