White Men and Diversity

Naomi K. McLaurin, Legal Intelligencer, April 5, 2011

Much has been written about the roles that white men can play in advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

From my vantage point, the most important roles are that of mentor, diversity leader and advocate. You see, I have learned some of my most important lessons from white men. And I’m not alone.

As Mentors

Roberta G. Torian, counsel at Reed Smith, readily acknowledges that white males have been mentors throughout her career.

“Most, if not all, diverse lawyers who have achieved some level of success in the corporate or majority law firm world have had a white male mentor them at some point,” said Torian, an African-American woman.

In the late ’80s, what is now the Loews Philadelphia Hotel was a 175-year-old bank named the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society. Its acronym, PSFS, remains lit on the roof of the hotel. Torian joined PSFS in the mid-80s from Mellon Bank, where she had begun her banking law career.

She was the first woman hired in the PSFS legal department. Prior to her joining the legal department, it consisted of white males, some older and some younger than Torian. Within six months of joining, Torian was promoted to the number two spot in the department.

Thereafter, longtime Ballard Spahr partner Jack McCarron joined PSFS as the executive vice president and general counsel. McCarron was responsible for legal, human resources, real estate and operations. Upon his arrival, he began working closely with Torian and ultimately offered her the position of vice president and managing general counsel. Torian was responsible for managing the law department, the corporate secretary’s group and the compliance function.

According to Torian, McCarron “was always there to support me in every aspect of my position and included me in all of the bank’s major transactions, including those requiring travel across the country. Had the FDIC not closed the bank in the early ’90s, the chances are good that I would have remained at PSFS,” said Torian. McCarron and Torian remain friends and are in regular contact to this day.

{snip}

This year, the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group (PDLG) will launch a groundbreaking mentoring program that pairs white male attorneys who are rainmakers with minority attorneys. The PDLG is a consortium of law firms and corporations that has worked for 10 years to increase the number of attorneys of diverse backgrounds working at law firms and corporate law departments in the greater Philadelphia region.

According to Danielle Banks, PDLG co-president and Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young partner, “The idea behind the mentoring program is to share the wealth. Having a book of business matters, and white men are decisionmakers about where business goes,” said Banks, an African-American woman.

“The mentoring program makes good business sense, and it’s the right thing to do. Firms need leaders–talented lawyers who come up though the ranks,” added Banks.

{snip}

From a practical standpoint, white men continue to hold positions of power. According to a November press release from NALP: The Association for Legal Career Professionals, nationwide, minority attorneys account for 6.16 percent of law firm partners and 19.53 percent of associates. In Philadelphia, minority attorneys account for 3.97 percent of law firm partners and 13.29 percent of associates. According to the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s 2010 survey, minorities account for 8.6 percent of Fortune 500 general counsel.

{snip}

Another component of the mentoring program is for PDLG corporate partners to similarly adopt a minority attorney at a firm with which it does business.

The mentoring program is not limited to PDLG fellows; it is open to all minority attorneys who want to participate. Banks said she hopes that law firms see the merits of PDLG’s model and implement their own mentoring programs.

As Diversity Leaders and Advocates

{snip}

Some people assume that white men are not interested in diversity. Others believe that white men are ineffectual as diversity leaders and advocates. They believe that white men do not understand diversity and inclusion because they are white and male. I strongly disagree.

It is true that diversity leaders and advocates tend to be women and minority attorneys. I happen to be an African-American woman. Although women and minority attorneys do have a unique experience by virtue of gender and race or ethnicity, this experience does not necessarily translate into an innate understanding and knowledge of diversity and inclusion principles. Some of the most vocal and effective diversity leaders and advocates I know happen to be white men.

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  • Question Diversity

    This year, the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group (PDLG) will launch a groundbreaking mentoring program that pairs white male attorneys who are rainmakers with minority attorneys.

    Okay, then, who will actually do any work? Rainmakers at law firms and other professional firms don’t do any work, and the minorities can skate by on dark skin privilege. Since they’re not hiring non-connected white people anymore, then no work will actually get done.

  • Anonymous

    >>

    Although women and minority attorneys do have a unique experience by virtue of gender and race or ethnicity, this experience does not necessarily translate into an innate understanding and knowledge of diversity and inclusion principles.

    >>

    Translation: You mean they do their jobs well by being diligent and knowledgeable and more intelligent and thus, by hiding under their wing, you get updrafted in your career when they have successes?

    >>

    Some of the most vocal and effective diversity leaders and advocates I know happen to be white men.

    >>

    And you can be assured that they do so so that they may be the first to exploit the privilege that goes with being a ‘leader’ in announcing their conformity to a policy position.

    i.e. It’s all social politics.

    Of course this means burning one’s bridges by not being a team player amongst one’s own which can buy you a fast knife in the back and basically zeroes any hope of developing a trustworthy power base on which to expand and further a tradition of excellence as a firm and a partnership advocacy among other skilled whites.

    Ride those coat tails lady. By your very ‘endorsement’ you highlight what is wrong with the system that encourages minorities to vamp other’s skills rather than display their own.

  • Jay

    “Within six months of joining, Torian was promoted to the number two spot in the department.”

    Let’s see: hired and then promoted in 6 months to a powerful position. Then she had to be tutored and ‘mentored’ in how to do her job. I wonder how all the other lawyers felt about this rapid promotion, especially since many of them must have worked there for years. Can you say affirmative action?

  • Jefferson

    Almost 90% of attorneys in Philadelphia are White, even though White people make up only 39% of Philadelphia’s general population.

    Blacks and Browns are underrepresented in Philadelphia’s legal field, even though they make up the majority of Philadelphia’s population.

    So much for the “we are all equal” speech by liberals. The only reason the U.S is not a 3rd world country yet is because Whites hold the majority of the power in this country. But once we lose that power to the Browns and Blacks, we will become a 3rd world banana republic just like Haiti and Guatemala for example.

  • ghw

    “White men can be some of the best advocates for their own dispossession.”

    Very true. Well, to a degree.

    But, inevitably, those who push it and preach it never seem to be hurt by it. They are on the benefiting end. They profit from advocating the dispossession of OTHERS.

    Promoting white dispossession can be very profitable. It’s a career enhancer. Those who cooperate are well rewarded. In this war against whites, they are COLLABORATORS against their own kind.

    Sadly, many of these despicable but willing tools probably don’t even realize this. All they know is that it pays well.

  • Anonymous

    “the roles that white men can play in advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession”.

    The only way to advance ‘inclusion’ in the legal profession is for white lawyers to join white activist support groups, the way lawyers of every other race do. It’s the least that can be done to include everyone under their diversity umbrella. You’d think experts on diversity would know that. Such an oversight doesn’t seem very sensitive on their part. Maybe this author should be replaced by someone who is.

  • highduke

    After the brave died in needless wars (Civil, WW1&2, Korea, Vietnam) we’re left with feminized cowards, so those few who have heart have to figure out a way to utilize the minority middle-class via fiscal conservatism masking a pro-White agenda. The Tea Party and changes within the GOP are a good start. Don’t despair brothers, you gotta start someplace.

  • Evil White Male

    White men are the minority when you add ALL women, plus black males, Hispanic males etc.

    If Whites are 66% of America, then White males are but 33% of America. DOESN’T THAT MAKE US THE MINORITY??????

  • Anonymous

    For the rest of the white men who are not lawyers…

    Woman walked out on the family.

    A man’s income can no longer support a household.

    No matter what you do you could get sued.

    Nobody represents you, unless you want to become gay.

  • Vick

    Some degree of socialism isn’t necessarily the end of the world – the experience of the northern European countries tells us that.

    But I’ve yet to see a multi-racial, multi-ethnic country with a large public sector that worked over the long haul. Racial/ethnic tensions can only be subdued for so long before they burst out into often terrible conflagration.

    I think there’s a lot of evidence to show that one of the reasons socialistic policies like national health care haven’t been instituted in the US is that the white middle class doesn’t want to pay for the minority underclass. Multi-racial, multicultural societies breed distrust and don’t lend themselves toward the sense of shared, collective destiny that socialistic policies require.

    When it comes to the US, like it or not, struggles over racial identity have always come first before national identity. This kind of strife undermines the national unity that policies involving shared commitments need.

    You can see this prioritization of racial struggle over building a sense of national unity in the very language of the radical left and how they relentlessly attack the idea of America, and continually pit minority groups America. It’s more important for them to eliminate the traditional middle class and replace it with one that is engineered: multicultural, post-traditional family, post-America.

    Their idea of socialism, and of national identity, is one where all real racial/ethnic differences are hammered down into bland, inoffensive forms. We’ll all be light brown and our historical and biological heritage with all its rough edges are ironed out into a boring mass where all differences are the same and ultimately equally meaningless.

  • Anonymous

    The Bushes are living proof.

  • Anonymous

    Some of the most vocal and effective diversity leaders and advocates I know happen to be white men.

    —————————————————————–

    Don’t you mean men who happen to have “White skin”? This African-“American” woman must not know that all people with White or light skin are not always of the White race. Just look at the census data and WHO can claim to be “White”…..

  • Bernie

    “White men can be some of the best advocates for their own dispossession.”

    Not true. These specimens are usually like the Bush’s or the Kennedy’s. Their precious children and grandchildren are not to lose jobs or places in schools due to having white skin. It is the poor and working class whites who get screwed and then called “racist” when they dare to complain.

    By the way, I am in my 40s and have never had a mentor. I make my way through the ranks by applying for jobs and showing proof of success. I’m beginning to think “mentors” are senior management who make sure their favorite black charges get plush jobs they are not necessarily qualified for (like Michelle Obama’s job at that Chicago hospital).

  • Tim Mc Hugh

    “I`m beginning to think mentors are…”-Bernie

    Yes, you are right on some counts. But please don`t give up on mentoring. I`ve had one and been one and it`s a great way to bond and learn a few things. I remember a great story about a new envelope salesman being paired with a grizzled old pro. The first thing the old pro did was fill up on gas and coffee and follow his competitions delivery truck for a day. They saw which of their “own” customers were cheating on them, which were not, and adjusted their pricing and sales strategies accordingly. The best part was when the “new guy” freely admitted how much he had learned from a guy who up to then he didn`t respect a whole lot…

  • idareya

    To be a SUCCESSFUL attorney, you must possess three qualities: a high intellect, be well-spoken and very self-motivated. You can find many with one or two of these qualities, but finding someone with all three is difficult.

  • alex

    This is just another black that attributes everything to race. To her race is first, last and always, and is the basis for everything.

    If those like her would understand that it is not race that holds people back, it is stupidity, she might be able to understand the real world just a little bit better.

    As it stands now, her opinions are worthless, just like Michelle Obama’s pitiful college thesis that did no more than whine about her erroneous perception of white racism, because she didn’t have the necessary intellect to expound on anything of a more intellectual nature.

  • Marc B

    “But, inevitably, those who push it and preach it never seem to be hurt by it. They are on the benefiting end. They profit from advocating the dispossession of OTHERS.”

    White elites are delusional in this respect. They are playing the game as if the demographics are still at 1970 levels, with whites being so much of the overall population that the well-heeled can behave with malice towards the general white population with no repercussions for racial disloyalty.

    We have all heard stories of crusading liberals of all stripes becoming victims at the hands of the same people whose causes they are championing. This same fate will extend to the turncoats (and especially to their progeny) working toward the dispossession of their brethren of European descent. Southern California is slowly evolving into a Brazil-style region of small pockets of white affluence surrounded by the larger declining areas ceded to the Mestizo.

  • diversity = adversity

    What is a “diversity leader”? All that about pairing people on the basis of race, why is that not racist? All this pro minoroty stuff has nothing to do with evaluating someone based on merit. This is a blatant attempt to encourage interracial pairing and mysogeny.

    pairing White men with successful law careers with “minority” women, (or rather pairing minorities with white men’s coat tails).

    it is starting to look like south africa over here.

    E.

  • Evil White Male

    If White men are only 33% of the country, wouldn’t calling the other 67% of the country ‘minorities’ be an oxymoron?

  • ice

    5 — ghw wrote at 9:33 PM on April 5:

    “White men can be some of the best advocates for their own dispossession.”

    “In this war against whites, they are COLLABORATORS against their own kind.”

    Yes, many of them do so by supporting blacks and black causes against their own people even when there is really nothing to gain, but a feel good attitude.

  • Browser

    “In this war against whites, they are COLLABORATORS against their own kind.”

    Yes, many of them do so by supporting blacks and black causes against their own people even when there is really nothing to gain, but a feel good attitude.

    —————————-

    That’s part of it. Quite a few sappy fools are safisfied with just feeling good about themselves and basking in their own “virtue”. But quite a few others have discovered that being a collaborator pays very well. There are advancements, promotions, whole careers that can be built on it (see Jane Elliott, for example, someone who’s made a career out of bashing whites, getting rich and famous along the way).

    On the other hand, being a defender of whites is a career-ender. It will destroy your reputation and will only get you a place in the unemployment line.

  • Californian

    “White men can be some of the best advocates for their own dispossession.”

    This is a point which I have raised on more than one occasion to white men who favor affirmative action, etc: why do you not give up your own high powered job and give it to a minority, pull your kids out of that 1st class university they are attending such that a minority can take their place, sell your house and move to the inner city?

    I never get much of an answer.

    Part of it is in ideology: liberalism always had had this element of using other people’s resources to attain liberal social goals. In the old days, liberals would redistribute other people’s wealth via taxation. Now it is a matter of redistributing jobs directly.

    Part of it is in the realities of power politics: white liberals in upper echelons use “diversity” as a means to undermine other whites who might be competing for their own jobs. They also use minorities as clients dependent on a liberal establishment.

    And part of it is the suicidal impulse of modern liberalism, well documented by Sam Francis, James Burnham, et alia.

  • Anonymous

    “On the other hand, being a defender of whites is a career-ender. It will destroy your reputation, make you miserable, and will only get you a place in the unemployment line.”On the other hand, being a defender of whites is a career-ender. It will destroy your reputation and will only get you a place in the unemployment line.

    __________

    That’s just the beginning! In some countries, it could get you heavily fined, stripped of everything you own, and even put in jail. The Diversitarians don’t mess around. They don’t tolerate any resistance.

    Coming soon to the good ole USA?