Obama’s Success Doesn’t Mirror Drastic Decline Among Top Black Lawyers

black lawyer

During President Obama’s ascent to the presidency, many middle and upper class black Americans viewed his rise as a reflection of themselves. But although Obama, a Harvard law school grad, was successful at getting elected to two terms, top black attorneys are witnessing one of the most dramatic declines in history.

The New York Times reported that the number of black lawyers at top firms has declined:

Black lawyers accounted for 3 percent of lawyers at big firms last year, a percentage that has declined in each of the last five years. And the proportion of black partners at such law firms remained stagnant at 1.9 percent during the same period, according to the 2013 diversity scorecard published in the June issue of The American Lawyer.

What is most disturbing, though, is that there’s not a decline among all minorities, just African-Americans:

In contrast, other minorities are claiming a larger presence in the big legal firms, with Asian-Americans taking the biggest share of positions and Hispanics the next largest share, surpassing blacks for the first time. The findings were based on figures provided by 223 large law firms.

According to the Times, this decline among top black lawyers is a result of the recession: “The percentage of black partners, whose ranks doubled from 1995 to 2008, fell to 1.9 percent in 2009 and has remained there.”

While black lawyers account for only 1.9 percent of attorneys at top firms, Asian-American lawyers accounted for 6.3 percent and Hispanics accounted for 3.2 percent.

9 comments
MorganaLeFay
MorganaLeFay

Well, this shocking decline is not directly due to Obama, and the POTUS success is not an image of the potential of the black middle class. 


Having said that, the numbers are disturbing, even though  we should not be surprised. As well as looking at figures, we know what this means. Particularly in the field of Civil Rights and Anti-Discrimination lawsuits, the less of us that are represented, the less likely we will find any sympathy in this racist legal system when we face discrimination on the job or in any other circumstance. 


The less of us able to pursue a long-standing legal career, the less of us who can earn better salaries, build up savings and pass these onto our children. The less of us in these top jobs, the longer it will take for us to find another one, and rise again without facing significant (and often racially charged) obstacles. 


And although Asian-Americans and Hispanics are managing to grow in number, those percentages are still horrifically small. 

kac_kac4
kac_kac4

@ theartistformerlyknownas. That's an interesting  view that I will have to give more thought to.    I don't know why anyone would think this President would do any more for regular everyday people than his predecessors.


Both major political parties are beholden to corporate interest. Generally when they do something significant for the "people"  it's usually for effect  not because they give a DAMN.

Theartistformerlyknownas
Theartistformerlyknownas

And so you all don't realize that this stuff is punishment for voting for the Black guy vs anything that he did to make this happen? We have been punished so that we'll never consider voting for a Black president again. And because he didn't hand deliver each negro a job, you all fall for the okie doke. Black folks should have been taking this time to be entrepreneurs any damn way

Watchful
Watchful

All the sistaz and bruthaz who voted for the POTUS believing that he somehow represented their salvation got tricked. In fact, they tricked themselves, TWICE! SMH

Watchful
Watchful

@Theartistformerlyknownas


With all due respect, if another 'black' presidential candidate like BO runs, we should definitely sit on our hands come election day. The last thing we need, IMO, is another one like him. Better to just let YT do the damage than to have one who looks like us do their bidding. 

AllenShaw
AllenShaw

@Watchful

Just what did people think that a Black President would do, for them? Fire all the "white folks"?

If President Obama continues to serve as he has served, when he leaves office and in time he will be acknowledge as one of our greatest Presidents. Thus one more barrier that Whites had to Blacks will have been destroyed!

In the years ahead, it will not be such a big deal to have a non-White President!

Presidents do not do individual things for one race or another and it is wrong for our Black leaders to have expected him to.

Theartistformerlyknownas
Theartistformerlyknownas

@Watchful @Theartistformerlyknownas 

Oh so you would rather have all of your damage done as it always has been been, in the form of a white man. But please tell me exactly what damage has he done to you specifically? 

The next time someone Black runs, I'll consider him just like I've HAD to consider the wfs.

Watchful
Watchful

@AllenShaw 


I'm not sure what 'people' expected, but I know that I didn't expect anything other than what I've seen from him thus far, which is the same as all his predecessors. 


And as far as how he'll be viewed after he leaves office, I can tell u this much, I will view him as the 'DRONE POTUS'. That's the one thing I'll remember him for. 

Watchful
Watchful

@Theartistformerlyknownas 


I don't think in terms of what damage is done to me 'specifically', I don't think in such selfish terms. I examine what damage is being done to my ppl as a whole.