Bruce McMullen was recently profiled in Law360's Minority Powerbrokers Q&A series. Mr. McMullen discusses his career and gives advice on how a law firm can increase diversity in its partner ranks.
"Include diverse associates in high-profile engagements with institutional clients. Include diverse associates at all levels of the engagement, from the client strategy meetings to actual court involvement. Too often diverse associates don't get this exposure and that impedes their ability to develop into a partner. The practice of law is an apprenticeship occupation. To elevate to a successful partner, an associate must be developed, trained and exposed. Also, focus some of your recruitment efforts on lateral diverse partners. These partners have proven themselves as partners at their current firms and may benefit from something unique your firm may offer such as a different or larger geographical footprint or platform. Finally, make sure you have a clear definition of diversity. Too often firms evaluate diverse candidates on how well they 'fit' in. Often the definition of 'fit' is too narrow. Sometimes too much emphasis is put on how consistent the candidate's background, likes, exposures and thoughts are with the majority members. Maybe they should broaden the definition to include diverse background, exposure, etc. That can result in the type of diversity that brings real value to strategy development, problem resolution, and client acquisition."
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