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Munger's New Partners Class Is 75 Percent Women of Color; Cadwalader Partner Is NY Court of Appeals Nominee + More

Vivia Chen

December 11, 2012

I've given you so much downer news during the year (click here, here and here if you want to get depressed) that you're probably still in a funk. That's certainly no way to go into the holiday season, so let me make amends and give you some happier news items:


Munger Tolles & Olson sets a diversity record. The Los Angeles-based powerhouse firm just elected Misty Sanford, Miriam Kim, Katherine Ku, and Daniel Levin (pictured above, left to right) to its partnership, effective January 1, 2013. According to the firm, Kim and Ku are Asian American, and Sanford is Mexican American. What's more, all three women each have two sons; their elevation also set a new record for the firm in both the number and percentage of people of color promoted in a single year.

The firm didn't say so, but we assume that Levin is the sole white guy in the group. But hey, we're cool with that.

Cadwalader partner could be first Asian American judge of New York's highest court. Kathy Hirata Chin, a litigation partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, has been nominated as one of seven candidates for judge of the New York Court of Appeals.

According to The Asian American Bar Association of New York, Asian Americans are "significantly underrepresented in the New York judiciary, where there are only currently 22 Asian Pacific American judges out of approximately 1,300 judges in New York State. If selected by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to fill the upcoming vacancy, Kathy Chin would be the first-ever Asian American judge on the New York Court of Appeals."

And in case you didn't know, Chin is married to Denny Chin, a judge on the Second Circuit, who was the first Asian American appointed as a U.S. district judge outside of the Ninth Circuit. Together, they would make a judical power couple.

Thank God, lawyers aren't trendy. Apple products are so popular that parents are naming their babies after them, reports CNET:

It seems that the name Apple has become 15 percent more popular as a baby name since the previous year. But this, at least, we can put down to the prescience of Gwyneth Paltrow, whose little child of one sex or other bears that name.

Not far behind, "12 percent more boys were named Mac," reports CNET. "It will surely stun you into an enhanced relationship with your iPhone 4S or 5 to also learn that 5 percent more girls were named Siri this year than last."

I might be giving lawyers too much credit, but I can't imagine they would risk such trendiness. Personally, I've always had a fondness for the names of old Wall Street firms. I think it's much more dignified to chase after Cravath, Simpson, or Cleary on the playground than Apple or Mac, don't you agree?


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As to the judicial nomination:
Of the seven candidates, four are women (one Black, two Hispanic) and one of the men is Hispanic. Plus, the Black woman is one of the very best judges in NYC and has appellate experience.
Altogether, we can hardly lose ... even if a white man gets the appointment, it'll practically have to be because Gov. Cuomo can plausibly assert that he's better than the other candidates, and that's damn good.

Props to Munger. On the other hand, its downtown LA neighbor O'Melveny & Myers named 6 new partners only one of whom was a woman.

Viva, this great, question how many of the new partners has Munger added to the Partnership are black women and men. Now that would be a greater accomplishment in liberal California.

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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