More Black than White Associates Report Too Little Work, Anxiety and Job Search

A survey of midlevel associates finds more African-Americans than whites are reporting light workloads and anxiety about the future.

More than 20 percent of African-American associates said their workloads are too light, compared to a little more than 15 percent of Asian Americans and Hispanics, and 13 percent of whites, the Minority Law Journal reports. African-Americans and Asian-Americans projected billables this year at just under 1,825 hours, compared to 1,840 for Hispanics and about 1,890 for whites.

Veta Richardson, executive director of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, said the low billables are likely tied to problems building mentor relationships, a longtime challenge for minority lawyers. “When work becomes less plentiful, it’s not surprising that minorities face significant challenges,” she told the Minority Law Journal.

The lack of work is evidently spurring anxiety and a search for jobs. Nearly a third of African-American lawyers reported high levels of anxiety about job security, compared to just over a fifth of white associates, the story says. About 13 percent of the midlevel African-American associates said they were actively looking for new jobs, compared to just under 8 percent of white and Asian-Americans and about 3 percent of Hispanics.

Richardson told the Minority Law Journal that minority associates aren’t the only lawyers affected by the lack of work. She said she is getting more calls from minority partners who say they are being slowly forced out of their firms.

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