Question for those recently hired in big law. Do you feel you are being given special help/mentoring, sort of being "groomed"? Have a vague feeling that I was hired as a charity exercise for the firm. Am I dreaming this?

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As a senior POC I do try and give special help/attention to junior POC, if that’s the kind of thing you mean. But it’s not because you’re not good enough or as a charity case, it’s because the deck is stacked against you/us so I want to make sure you have the tools you need to succeed (which requires being better than everyone else for half the credit etc). Lots of POC are first generation lawyers/fish out of water in a biglaw firm etc and need a little extra help to figure out the ways of biglaw, nothing wrong with that. At the end of the day your work is still your work and that is the most important thing, you’re not going to be staffed with senior POC to look out for you on the majority of your matters, so if someone needs second and third chances and more feedback and mentoring rather than seniors just giving up on them I try and do that. It’s so easy for POC to slip through the cracks if no one is looking out for you. I did not have anyone who looks like me to look up to (still don’t) and trying to change that for the next generation. It’s not charity, it’s for the improvement of all our lives, my law firm, and biglaw/legal industry in general.

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My heart, thank you. I love when I get staffed with people like you. I learn so much and I feel like my work is better because they take the time to explain things. <3

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Well,
1. Noone pays big money for charity, especially not biglaw!! You’re worth it, you deserved getting hired.
2. I didn’t feel like i was given any special help or mentoring. I just kept drowning until i learnt to swim.

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Same here.

You’re lucky if you get any mentoring, POC or not

likesmart

Many firms are now realizing the detrimental effect of unconscious bias on the careers of women and URMs. It is real and it is a good thing that firms are taking active steps to make a change. You should not feel like a charity case. As someone in this thread stated, this is not how big law shows it’s charitable nature. Instead, you were hired because of your potential to succeed based on your track record. They are investing in you because they believe they can gain a return on their investment. Take advantage of the mentoring, “special help”, etc. that you should be receiving as a new hire regardless of your minority status and be the best attorney you can be! Good Luck— now is your time to shine!

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What SH1 said. I would accept the mentorship and opportunity.

I think there could be a specific absence of mentoring in some cases and you need to check in with other associates and see if you are being left behind. Here are some things that happened to me: work flow was poor while others were busy; other associates were invited to pitches and I only knew about it when they told me - I was never invited; other associates negotiated their salaries each year and their rate; I didn’t know this and ended up poorly paid and falling behind on rate increases; first year associates went on site visits that I wasn’t invited to; I found myself all too often shut out of face time with the clients while more junior White associates participated in client meetings.

All of these things contribute to mentoring in one way or another and I only managed to overcome them because I had years of prior experience and started regularly checking in with other associates to see where I was being excluded, then calling the Partners out on their BS. I wasn’t a charity hire, my resume was great, but they treated me like that.

If you are checking those boxes, either seek someone out to help advocate for you, or start getting ready to move.

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Monitoring this thread closely. I’m an attorney of color recently hired into biglaw after several years in government. I’m sure there’s a learning curve regarding firm culture and operations, but I’m uncertain about how steep it is; especially for POC.

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I literally have mentors at the highest level of the firm set up because I’m a diversity hire. They want to meet their quotas and have us stay. I just am bold enough to set boundaries and hope they won’t push me out in mid years for it since they “need” me lol.

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Not really.

There’s a program for first gen lawyers that want the extra mentoring/help. I’m a first gen lawyer, but I don’t really feel the need for it. Pretty much get treated the same as all the other associates. It’s great.

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