•  
  •  
 

Abstract

Within the American legal profession, diversity is widely embraced in principle but seldom realized in practice. Women and minorities are grossly underrepresented at the top and overrepresented at the bottom. What accounts for this disparity and what can be done to address it are the subjects of this Article. It provides the first comprehensive portrait of the problem from the vantage of leaders of the nation’s largest legal organizations. Through their perspectives, this Article seeks to identify best practices for diversity in law firms and in-house legal departments, as well as the obstacles standing in the way.

Part I begins with an analysis of the challenges confronting the American bar with respect to diversity and the gap between the profession’s aspirations and achievements. Part II sets forth the methodology of the survey of law firm leaders and general counsel. Part III explores the survey’s findings, and Part IV concludes with a summary of best practices. “We can and should do better” was how one participant in the study described his firm’s progress, and that view is the premise of this Article.