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Abstract

This Article advances a new capital analysis, depicting BigLaw relationships not as basic labor-salary exchanges but rather as complex transactions in which BigLaw and its lawyers exchange labor and various forms of capital—social, cultural, and identity. Unlike the traditional Tournament Theory model, in which BigLaw and its lawyers come across as near hopeless pawns powerless to combat vicious exogenous societal forces outside of their control, the proposed capital model conceives of BigLaw and its lawyers as active players who are very much responsible for the outcomes of their exchanges. Moreover, exactly because the capital model describes the underrepresentation of diverse lawyers at BigLaw as an endogenous outcome within the control of BigLaw and its lawyers, it is, while far from rosy, a cautiously optimistic model that offers hope for greater representation of diverse lawyers in positions of power and influence.