Where Are the Asian-American Partners?

, The American Lawyer


Though they've been swelling the junior ranks of the profession for the last 20 years or so, Asian Americans are still rarities at the top, particularly in Big Law.

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What's being said

  • Legally Qualified Too

    And there is also the factor of the " perpetually foreign " syndrome. Committee of 100 did a study examining how Asians/Chinese are perceived. Although dated, it is still useful to read. People love to pigeonhole others, and if you are not the quiet type, fitting into the stereotype, then you are "too aggressive". Hey, my own AA bar association told me that I was "too ambitious", code words for, yeah, well maybe you shouldn‘t try and maybe you should believe those stereotypes rather than break out of them. Unfortunately, stereotypes and sexism still exist in our own communities.

  • Legally Qualified

    The fact is, and it ought to be noted, the dominant culture is white/Anglo, and it is as different as you can get from many Asian cultures. When a minority culture is as different from the dominant one as the one in which many high-achieving Asian-Americans are raised, there are interpersonal clashes - which most people like to avoid. Turn the tables and look at how things are when white lawyers work in Asian dominated firms in HK or China, for instance. Those white lawyers experience bias, for sure. Asian-Americans can do what any minority group has to do which is be prepared, be confident, know your worth, and speak up with a clear case when reaching for a career goal.

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