Critics generally concede the raw numbers. But they offer different reasons for the gap between hiring and promotion. Some point to old-fashioned racism. Others say that firms act institutionally in hiring but leave work assignments to individual partners. Those partners often provide poor training, rote assignments and little mentoring to minority lawyers.
That should be unsurprising given the credentials gap, said Roger Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, which opposes hiring preferences based on race.
“If everyone in the law firms knows you’re hiring according to a double standard, you actually may end up compromising the confidence that partners and others have in the ability of people hired on the basis of preference,” Mr. Clegg added. “It actually reinforces stereotypes.”