This book had its beginnings in a simple question: How have some African-American attorneys, recently admitted to the bar, successfully navigated what research suggests is a very precarious pipeline to the legal profession? The response to this question entailed a journey that spanned some three years, over fifty informants, and a dozen or so researchers and scholars who study the intersections of education, race, and efforts to achieve social equity. The resulting work generalizes from the stories collected and constructs a substantive theory of success built around a phenomenon called “working recognition.” This concept describes both the recognition experienced in various forms by our study’s participants and the recognition they transformed into strategic activities aimed at overcoming academic, economic, and social obstacles encountered in their personal pipelines. We found that it was through such activity that they ultimately attained recognition as lawyers and entered the profession of law.
As a way of situating the study within scholarship in higher and legal education, the book further presents essays from noted scholars who respond to the study’s thematic findings comparing and contrasting them to related research and practices. Finally, we consider the policy implications that derive from our extant project, particularly policies that relate to future pipeline interventions.
“This is an engaging and well-written book that uses analysis of in-depth interviews to tell the stories not only of African Americans entering the legal profession, but also the story of the significant and important role of HBCUs in educating the current generation of black lawyers. It is a must read for anyone doubting the relevance of the HBCU today.”— Kurt l. Schmoke, Dean, Howard University School of Law
“A must read for anyone interested in understanding the very different experiences faced by African-American law students when compared with their white peers. It should be required reading for all law school Deans and University Presidents who should then seek to implement the very thoughtful suggestions discussed by Evensen and Pratt thereby moving law schools in the direction of being inclusive learning environments for all students.”— Dorothy Brown, Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law
“Evensen and Pratt’s illuminating study tells the stories that all lawyers need to hear. Their chronicles of young African Americans who navigate nearly insurmountable challenges to join our profession provide convincing evidence for the authors’ theory of intervention and the necessity of pipeline programs. With its combination of interviews and essays, this is an essential work for anyone who is committed to improving the racial diversity of the legal profession.”— Phoebe Haddon, Dean, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law