The First African-American Am Law 200 Chairperson Was A Lot More Recent Than You Think


498602Nobody looks at the persistently woeful numbers when it comes to diversity amongst the partnership and thinks that the first Black leader of a big firm dates back all that long. But if put on the spot, you’d probably guess it was more recent than it really was.

Even the first African-American chair of a Biglaw firm was a little surprised to learn he was the first.

Bloomberg Law News put together a bio on the life and career of Quarles & Brady chair emeritus John W. Daniels Jr, who led the firm from 2006 to 2015.

That’s halfway into the aughts. Of the 21st century.

Granted there are still overtly racist actors trying to block Black attorneys from building a portfolio of business as of less than a year ago, so it’s not necessarily surprising. But I’d wager a lot of folks were as surprised as Daniels to learn that he was the first.

HeadshotJoe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.


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