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Susan A. Yohe, Managing Shareholder of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s Pittsburgh office and Chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee, was recently quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the firm’s efforts to recruit and mentor diverse attorneys.

"Racial diversity is very tough for law firms," says Yohe. She further explained that firms face challenges in trying to attract minorities and that there is tough competition for a small pool of diverse law school graduates.

A 2012 survey by the National Association for Law Placement showed that minorities account for approximately 12.9 percent of attorneys at firms nationwide, and women accounted for 32.67 percent. In Pittsburgh, minorities accounted for 2 percent of all partners and 8.9 percent of all associates, and women accounted for 18.7 percent of all partners and 43.4 percent of associates.

Pittsburgh’s existing population base is not as diverse as other metropolitan markets.

"We have more success recruiting [racially diverse lawyers] in our offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York," says Yohe.

Yohe also describes the initiative that the firm has taken to assign "sponsors" to diverse associates who are close to achieving shareholder status.

As Yohe explains, the sponsors assume "responsibility for nurturing these individuals into the next level. We provided the sponsors and formal training, including business development training and how to think like the owner of a law firm. We want to be attentive to what we saw as a gap: making sure they have the skills and training to get advanced in the firm."

Read the full article – “Leadership Council on Legal Diversity promotes mission in legal community nationwide” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 1, 2013)