Our legal legacy.
Now, upon the occasion of the 23rd Anniversary Issue of black enterprise, there are 25,000 black attorneys - including one of my sons, Johnny, a graduate of Yale Law School. And, as detailed in this month's unprecedented cover story, "America's Leading Black Law Firms," there are several accomplished black-owned firms, including the twelve outstanding ones profiled in this issue. Such a story would not have been possible as recently as a decade ago. When the first issue of BE was published in August 1970, there were less than 4,000 African-Americans practicing law in the United States. In fact, the top firms listed in our story didn't even exist
But despite the progress of the past quarter century, black attorneys still remain largely excluded from the lucrative business of law. Too many black attorneys join prestigious majority-owned law firms as enthusiastic associates, only to realize that they'll never be considered for a partnership. And too many African-American attorneys hang out their own shingle, only to discover that they may never get the chance to handle the lucrative corporate and institutional accounts necessary to build a large, thriving practice.
Ironically, many of the nation's largest black businesses and institutions are as guilty as their white counterparts when it comes to ignoring black law firms. Too few BE 100s companies, historically black universities and even prominent black professionals seek out black-owned firms to handle their legal work. If only half of our nation's most prominent black businesses and institutions did so, the number of firms listed in our exclusive report would easily triple.
Twenty years ago, it could be argued - truthfully - that there were no black firms capable of handling the complex variety of legal work required by companies, government agencies and other institutions. That argument no longer holds water. Today, our greatest legal minds are our sons and daughters. If we don't give them a chance, who will? How many more Marshalls, Motleys and Houstons can the legal profession afford to lose?
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|Title Annotation:||African American-owned law firms|
|Author:||Graves, Earl G.|
|Date:||Aug 1, 1993|
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