Furthering its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative, Parsons Behle & Latimer (Parsons) has announced a new affinity group within the firm – the Attorneys of Color (AOC) Affinity Group, led by Parsons’ attorney Abby Dizon-Maughan, the AOC Affinity Group’s objectives are to provide support to attorneys of color as well as provide a pathway to leadership within the firm and throughout Parsons’ local communities in the Intermountain West.
Dizon-Maughan says attorneys of color are generally vastly underrepresented at state Bar Associations which can lead to high levels of attrition for attorneys of color. She says the constant struggle that attorneys of color undergo to feel included in the profession rather than looking in from the outside can be exhausting and demoralizing. Parsons’ AOC Affinity Group aims to give attorneys of color space to be their authentic selves without feeling the need to code switch to fit in as well as provide a platform to network with other attorneys of color. The group will provide support through monthly and quarterly meetings that will include discussions and presentations with other attorneys of color, firm leaders and community leaders of color.
Supporting Dizon-Maughan’s perception, an American Bar Association (ABA) survey released in 2020 showed that while more minorities are being hired as associates, law firm leadership is mostly white and male because of a diversity “bottleneck” and higher rates of minority attrition.
The ABA 2020 Model Diversity Survey Report, released by the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, is based on three years of data and shows that at the associate level, white lawyers constitute 70% to 92% of associates, depending on firm size and year. White lawyers constitute 84% to 93% of equity partners and 84% to 90% of nonequity partners.
The survey found that white lawyers are more likely to be promoted to equity than nonequity partnership. And the attrition rate for minority racial groups was two to three times higher than that of white lawyers. The study also found that only 7% of minority men and 3% of minority women were included in firm leadership.
Parsons’ leadership, including its board of directors, strongly supports the AOC Affinity Group and efforts to provide an inclusive and advantageous environment in which attorneys of color – and all attorneys who have historically been marginalized – can excel at equitable rate. Parsons thanks Dizon-Maughan for her efforts in leading this critically important group.
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