A 2011 Midlevel Associates Survey conducted by The American Lawyer demonstrates that although the salary gap between minority and majority associates is closing, persistent differences continue to exist. Hispanic associates reported the highest increase in their salary from 2008 to 2011, while Asian associates reported the highest salary and billing rates as compared to both their minority and majority counterparts, despite a decrease in their average salary. Nonetheless, minority associates continue to rate job satisfaction categories lower than their majority counterparts.
The survey also demonstrates that firms are making an effort to retain their minority associates. Black and Hispanic associates were the most likely to report that they had mentors – 86.5 % and 83.1%, respectively. Notwithstanding, all minorities thought that they had a lower chance of making partner than white associates. Only 60% of Blacks, 63.7% of Asians and 68.4% of Hispanics thought that they were headed toward promotion. How effective are these mentoring relationships when minority associates do not believe that they will reach the upper echelons of their firms? What is the missing link between mentoring and retention/advancement of minority associates? Has your firm employed innovative efforts to address the issue of advancement of minority attorneys?