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Caste System Persists Among Attorneys and Business Professionals

While the last decade has brought a revolution of global law firms employing thousands of attorneys and an army of professional staff — pricing executives, marketers and legal operation specialists, among many others — many professional law firm staff tell stories of a two-tiered system that minimizes their role and contributions. Observers said the caste system is a long-standing cultural mindset that stems from an age when firms were smaller and more informal, without hundreds of employees.

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When Carolyn Park first landed in a big firm in New York after pivoting from associate to business development, her boss told her to mention that she had a J.D. when she introduced herself to other partners.

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