Yondi K. Morris was a contract attorney at a firm and was fairly new on the job when she had received a condescending and disrespectful remark by one of the firm’s partners. He said to her, “OK slave, get back to work.” It was demeaning and degrading to her womanhood and to her status as one of the firm’s newest attorneys. Morris knew then that she was going to make a life change.
She took to Twitter and tweeted a message that said, “I need to start my own firm.” That message reached another attorney, Keli L. Knight, who also wanted to make a change. The two drew in another attorney and good friend, Jessica B. Reddick, and KMR Law Group was born. Together, they are founders and partners of the all black, all female law firm based in Chicago.
The Minority Corporate Counsel Association performed a survey that found that left law firm employment at a higher rate than that of their other minority counterparts. Black female attorneys quit firms even more than black men. Perhaps what happened to Morris is not just an isolated incident. There may be a form of discrimination targeting minority groups, and especially minority women as legal practitioners.
The biases that affect these legal professionals are the same prejudices blacks have endured throughout history. No matter how educated and professional they may be, they are still in the minds of some, nothing more than a color and that color is not the preferred one. It is a sad commentary in this “free” country we all live in together.
These three women have not allowed bias whether conscious or unconscious to hinder their progress. They have forged ahead and become a force to reckon with in areas of Real Estate, Estate Planning, Corporate Law, and Entertainment Law within the city of Chicago. They started out using social media as their platform, and they continue to be social by reaching out to their community and sharing their journey.
They visit schools and talk to kids to give them an idea of what a black, female attorney can really be like. KMR is a professional law practice that gives back, while making an impact.
Do you see color when you look at professionals in the legal field? Let’s discuss here or on Twitter @lcarterwriter.