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In-House Minority Women Face Obstacles

 NEW YORK  -- Corporate Counsel Women of Color ("CCWC") has unveiled its seminal study on the work experience of women of color attorneys. The report — The Perspectives of Women of Color Attorneys in Corporate Legal Departments — reveals new data about an increasingly important sector of the legal community. CCWC used a special luncheon presentation and panel discussion at the New York Hilton as the backdrop to release the findings from its two-year research initiative.

"This study reveals a pipeline of diverse and talented women of color attorneys in corporations," said Laurie Robinson, Founder and CEO of CCWC. "We expect both corporate law departments and law firms globally to benefit from our findings and recommendations. But as with any initiative of this magnitude, the lasting impact will come from actual implementation of the course of action we have identified."  

Award-winning journalist Ed Gordon, Host of Weekly with Ed Gordon on BET Networks, moderated the panel, which featured engaging discussions on recruitment, retention and advancement of women of color attorneys at law firms and in corporations. Presenters included general counsels of Fortune 1000 and Forbes 2000 companies, as well as the managing partners of some of the nation's largest law firms.  

Key findings from the CCWC study include:

  • The experience of working in a corporate legal department was rated better than the experience of working in a law firm based on six key areas: access to senior management, access to clients, work assignments, atmosphere of inclusion, promotional opportunities, and training and development opportunities.
  • "Being valued" was rated the number one element in current job satisfaction.
  • Corporate legal departments were viewed as minimally diverse.
  • Gender was perceived as more of a barrier to advancement than race and/or ethnicity, but this did not deter in-house women of color from setting high goals for advancement.

This report gives corporations, as well as law firms—which have been noted to have high attrition rates within this unique group—the tools and best practices they need to engage, leverage, and maximize the talented pool of women of color attorneys within their ranks.

About the Study

857 women attorneys of color from across the nation participated in an online web survey, which was developed by the Center for Creative Leadership and analyzed by researcher Saundra Murray Nettles, Ph.D. 500 participated in live audience testing at the CCWC Fifth Annual Career Strategies Conference in Las Vegas, and 40 participated in three focus groups. The participants' qualitative and quantitative responses enabled CCWC® to delve sufficiently into perspectives on the transition from the law firm setting to the corporate setting; compare the law firm environment to the corporate environment; and examine perceptions about the in-house work environment, perceived barriers, advancement opportunities, and career aspirations.

About Corporate Counsel Women of Color® & the Diversity Award of Excellence

CCWC® is a 501(c)3 organization founded in 2004 to foster diversity in the legal profession and to address and meet the unique needs of its 2,500 plus members who work primarily for Fortune 1000 and Forbes 2000 legal departments. In connection with the findings and recommendations in the report, CCWC will honor two law firms and two corporations with its prestigious Diversity Award of Excellence at its Seventh Annual Career Strategies Conference in Beverly Hills, California at the Beverly Hilton on October 6, 2011.


STORY TAGS: Women News, Minority News, Discrimination, Diversity, Female, Underrepresented, Equality, Gender Bias, Equality



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