“Women and people of color in the legal profession continue to face barriers in hiring, promotions, assignments and compensation, according to a study released Thursday by the American Bar Association.
The survey, which proposes strategies for employers to eliminate the barriers, was conducted by the Center for WorkLifeLaw at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, for the bar association’s Commission on Women in the Profession and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.
Michele Coleman Mayes, former chairwoman of the commission, said she oversaw the report, called “You Can’t Change What You Can’t See: Interrupting Bias in the Legal Profession,” because she was dismayed by statistics on men of color and women in top positions — and the way that law firms and organizations were talking about diversity.
The most commonly used training materials and leadership courses focused on how individual lawyers could overcome barriers in the workplace, she said, rather than on removing those barriers.
“That’s only half of the equation,” she said. ‘We’re hoping that people can look at the systems, and not put so much weight on the individual.’”