Visible Invisibility:
Women of Color in Law Firms

Most private firm business models continue to adhere to the “pay your dues and climb the ladder” tradition. Regardless of how accomplished a woman may be, she cannot climb—much less reach the top of—the leadership ladder unless she spends a certain amount of years in her work environment. Nowhere is this more painfully obvious than with women of color in law firms.

Women of color experience a double whammy of gender and race, unlike white women or even men of color who share at least one of these characteristics (gender or race) with those in the upper strata of management. Women of color may face exclusion from informal networks, inadequate institutional support, and challenges to their authority and credibility. They often feel isolated and alienated, sometimes even from other women.

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