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REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION WITH REGARD TO THE STATEMENT OF GOALS FOR INCREASING MINORITY RETENTION AND PROMOTION
In September 1991 the Association, acting through its newly formed Committee to Enhance Professional Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession,1 adopted a "Statement of Goals of New York Law Firms and Corporate Legal Departments For Increasing Minority Representation and Retention" (the "Statement"), which established goals for hiring Minority lawyers2 for the six-year period ending December 31, 1997, and specified additional steps to be taken to increase retention and promotion rates in each of the law firms and corporate legal departments that were signatories to the Statement (the "Signatories").
Adoption of the Statement was a signal act in the history of the Association, and represented public commitments on the part of the Association and the senior managements of law firms and corporate legal departments represented within the Association on an issue of great public importance. Ultimately, 144 New York law firms and the legal departments of 42 corporations became Signatories to the Statement.
In the Statement, the Signatories agreed to the following goals:
These are lofty goals indeed, and the Association and the Signatories can be rightly proud of their participation in this historic undertaking in the cause of equal opportunity and the promotion of greater diversity within the Bar.
Aside from adoption of the Statement, the Committee formed a Subcommittee on Recruitment and Retention, chaired by Ira Millstein, which issued a report in May 1992. The Subcommittee conducted a survey of Minority lawyers at firms represented on the Committee, including Minority lawyers who had recently left such firms. In general, the Subcommittee reported that, while a substantial majority of all Minority lawyers reported that their work experiences, their relations with non-Minority lawyers, and the firms evaluation of their performance were not different from those of their non-Minority colleagues, African-American associates, in particular, perceived that their experiences were substantially different from those of their non-Minority colleagues.
The Subcommittee concluded that African-American lawyers as a group perceive far more race-related barriers to their professional development than do other lawyers, and noted that these perceptions apparently are contributing to or causing disparate levels of retention among different groups of Minorities.
The Subcommittee recommended that firms give serious consideration to a number of steps to address these problems, such as diversity training, establishing an internal diversity committee to deal with diversity issues, enhancing orientation training for new associates and re-examining current evaluation processes to ensure clarity and consistency in evaluating Minority and non-Minority associates.3
In June 1994 the Committee, then under the chairmanship of Ira Millstein, was reorganized to serve as an umbrella committee to coordinate the efforts of other Association committees concerned with diversity issues, including a newly organized Task Force on Minorities, chaired by Vaughn C. Williams, and a Task Force on Women, chaired by Katherine Darrow.4 On June 17, 1998, the Task Force on Minorities issued a Report, "The Statement of GoalsSix and One-Half Years Later", evaluating the experiences of Minority employment in law firms since the adoption of the Statement. The Report concludes that the Statement was successful in focusing attention on Minority hiring in the profession, but that its overall success in terms of increasing Minority representation and retention has been mixed. The Task Force concluded that:
The percentage of Minority lawyers employed (as a percentage of all lawyers) appears to have increased over the period, and the number of Signatory firms at which Minority lawyers accounted for 10% or more of all lawyers employed increased from 10 in 1992 to 29 in 1996. The NALP statistics surveyed by the Task Force indicate that Minority employment increased from 6% in 1990 to 9% in 1996, but there is evidence that different Minority groups have had different experiences. For example, the percentage of African-American and Hispanic associates remained at 2% throughout the period, while the percentage of Asian-American associates increased from 3% to 7%.
In view of this experience, the Task Force Report recommended that:
The Committee has reviewed the Report and recommendation of the Task Force and shares the concern of the Task Force that improved hiring rates may not be resulting in a correspondingly larger Minority population within law firms and corporate legal departments. Although the conclusion of the Task Force Report that the Signatories have met or exceeded the 10% Minority hiring goals for 1992-97 period is an encouraging sign that greater participation of Minorities at all levels in law firms and corporate legal departments may soon become a reality, available evidence, though inconclusive and to some extent anecdotal, suggests that Minority retention programs have been less successful than Minority hiring.
Moreover, as noted above, the evidence cited in the Task Force Report suggests that different Minority groups have had different experiences, with Asian-American associates increasing at a more rapid rate than African-American and Hispanic associates.
These reports and anecdotal evidence appear to confirm that, consistent with the findings of the Subcommittee on Recruitment and Retention in 1992, retention of associates remains a serious obstacle to wider participation of Minorities in law firms and corporate legal departments,7 and that this phenomenon is particularly evident with respect to African-American and Hispanic-American associates.
The Committee, therefore, believes it is important in restating and extending the Statement to emphasize the critical nature of retention programs to ensure that the goal of increased Minority participation in law firms and corporate legal departments is actually achieved.
If Minority lawyers are experiencing lower success rates and higher attrition rates than their non-Minority colleagues, then the fact that the Signatories have achieved and even exceeded the 10% Minority hiring goal adopted in 1991 may suggest that more progress has been made in achieving the overall objective of the Statement than is in fact the case. Similarly, it may well be that the statistics with regard to Minority hiring as a whole are not indicative of the hiring rates for African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans during the Statement period. Thus, it is unclear whether smaller increases in employment levels for African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans are attributable to lower hiring rates or higher attrition rates, or a combination of the two.
Moreover, in Section IV of the Statement, each of the Signatories pledged to continue to pursue the goal of increasing retention and promotion rates for Minority lawyers by taking a number of enumerated steps to ensure that, among other things, the working environment for Minorities be as hospitable as the working environment for non-Minorities, that Minorities have equal opportunities to engage in significant work assignments for important clients, and receive equal training, mentoring, guidance and opportunities to grow professionally and to succeed. In seeking to encourage increased Minority representation and retention at all levels, each of the Signatories pledged to promote or invite to partnership or senior corporate counsel Minority lawyers who meet the firms or legal departments requisite criteria for those positions.
Committee to Enhance Diversity in the Profession
Ned B. Stiles, Chair
RESTATEMENT AND REAFFIRMATION OF GOALS OF NEW YORK LAW FIRMS AND CORPORATE LEGAL DEPARTMENTS FOR INCREASING MINORITY REPRESENTATION AND RETENTION
By the Committee to Enhance Diversity in the Profession
* * * * * * * * * *
Accordingly, the Signatories now restate and reaffirm the goals for increasing Minority representation at all levels of law firms and corporate legal departments as follows:
Each signatory pledges to pursue the following goals:
Each Signatory pledges to pursue the goal of increasing the number of Minority lawyers hired by taking all or some of the following steps:
Each Signatory pledges to continue to pursue the goal of increasing retention and promotion rates for Minority lawyers by doing the following:
December 17, 1998
* The Statement of Goals is intended to be applicable only to the United States offices of signatory firms and corporate legal departments, inasmuch as the concept of "minority" may differ in other countries.