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ABA Report on Women of Color Lawyers Lands During National Reckoning with Race, Perspective

“The summer of 2020 was not on the minds of researchers when, three years ago, they embarked on studying the experiences of women of color who had practiced in law firms for 15 years or more as part of a multipronged project on long-term careers by the American Bar Association (ABA) and the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. “I actually think that it is a good time for the report to come out because maybe people will pay a little closer attention to it,” says Paulette Brown, senior partner and chief diversity and inclusion officer at the international law firm Locke Lord LLP and one of the coauthors of Left Out and Left Behind: The Hurdles, Hassles, and Heartaches of Achieving Long-Term Legal Careers for Women of Color with Destiny Peery and Eileen Letts. At the time, Brown was coordinating town hall meetings with people of color and executives at her firm, discussing race matters that had recently overtaken current events. When the report was released, American society was wrapped in reexaminations of systemic racism following police actions that resulted in the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other African Americans. Black Lives Matter protests in 350 cities and towns, antiracism forums, roundtables, and corporate statements filled the news…The Left Out report, using in-person focus groups and an online survey, pulls back the curtains on the lived experiences of women of color in law firms…”

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