Exclusive: Major US firms classify their lawyers by skin colour
30 August 2013
A number of top US firms have started using their websites to classify their attorneys by their skin colour.
There seems to be a developing trend for major firms to lump together all their non-white lawyers under the umbrella term of "Attorneys of Color
". For example, Ropes & Gray, Morgan Lewis
, Fried Frank
, Kramer Levin
and Blank Rome
are all now following this practice. The development is an attempt to encourage diversity in the profession, and a spokesman for Morgan Lewis said that the firm was passionate about diversity.
And maybe it will encourage diversity, who knows - but making a point of referring to a professional as a person of colour (or not) seems borderline racist. Not to mention almost comically broadbrush: does it really make any sense to group Afro Caribbean, Chinese and Indian lawyers together by the single trait of not being white? And should those of Hispanic, Mediterranean or Mexican origin now be categorised as "Attorneys of Some But Not So Much Color
Although Morgan Lewis declined to comment, its spokesman accepted that it may "sound strange to the European ear
" while Jenny from RoF Towers, who according to US firms is also a Person of Color, described it as "fundamentally well meaning but absolute bullsh*t