This article examines the path to BigLaw partnership for young minority attorneys. As the head of Katten's Washington, DC Litigation practice and a member of both the firm's Board of Directors and Executive Committee, partner Nadira Clarke was asked to comment on the topic by Law360. It took years of building experience at the US Department of Justice and some early false starts at firms before she cemented her place in corporate law. But what makes a difference to minority attorneys, according to Nadira, is when a firm has a chief diversity officer who works with the firm's leadership on decisions regarding work assignments, pay and promotion to partnership or elite roles and authoritatively advocates for racial inclusion.
"When a chief diversity officer works in conjunction with a firm's managing partner, they're let into those decisions," says Nadira. "One thing that was meaningful to me when I came to Katten was that they had a CDO who reports directly to the chair of the firm and the CEO. Then I knew, that's someone who has the ability to make a real impact."
Read "Minority Lawyers on Why They Left BigLaw" in its entirety.