Covington & Burling is taking some heat over at The Huffington Post.
Yolanda Young, a former staff attorney, published a blog item Monday that compared the firm’s efforts at diversifying its workforce with segregation laws in the Jim Crow South.
“Covington has certainly diversified its firm; however, its attorneys are far from equals,” she writes. “The vast majority of Covington's black attorneys do no substantive work, have no control over their case assignments and no opportunity for advancement.”
She contends that black lawyers make up less than 5 percent of partners and associates in the firm’s Washington office, but compose nearly one-third of the staff attorneys despite their experience and education.
Covington’s management committee released a statement to Legal Times, which said the firm may have had less success in terms of the percentage of black lawyers as partners, counsel, and associates. But it’s not for a lack of trying.
“[R]oughly 10% of the lawyers we hired during the past two years are African-American,” the statement says. “Over time, we are hopeful that these percentages or higher percentages will be reflected in our overall numbers.”
The statement also says Young’s blog was “replete with distortions and inaccuracies” and that she misrepresented the firm's ongoing commitment to diversity and “the advancement of black lawyers in a wide range of practice areas and positions of firm leadership.”