Biglaw partners have shared to The American Lawyer
that they experienced racist behaviour, being told to go back to their own countries. Trump on the campaign trail had openly called for mass deportations of illegals and restrictions on Muslims entering the country.
William Lee, a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, told the publication that he had been told by a man at a wealthy Boston suburb to “go back to your own country.”
Lee is described by The American Lawyer as “one of the country's top intellectual property litigators.” Wilmer Hale is ranked 12th on the publication’s A-List
which ranks US firms on overall excellence. On gross revenue, the firm is 20th overall in the US, according to the publication’s Am Law 100
Lee, who is of Chinese descent but whose family has been in the US since 1948, recounted how he was filling his Mercedes-Benz SUV when a man approached him and asked how he could afford such a car. The man also reportedly said Lee was not welcome in the US.
The lawyer told the man he didn’t understand but was told, “You mean, you don’t understand English?”
“I don’t understand ignorance,” he countered.
Meanwhile, Cyndie Chang told The American Lawyer how she was also told by a Caucasian man to go back to her own country while she was standing on the Capitol steps in Washington, D.C. back in May.
Chang, who’s a fifth-generation immigrant to the US, is the managing partner of the Los Angeles office of Duane Morris and president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. Duane Morris is ranked 72nd on the Am Law 100
Chang, who said she didn’t respond to the comment, said she was “in shock, and fear, a little bit.”
“I am somewhat anxious and fearful,” Chang told the publication, revealing she had scrapped plans to visit a relative a few hours from a city she was soon travelling to in order to avoid driving alone.
Recently, Trump said he was “so saddened” to hear about hate coming from his supporters.
In an interview on 60 Minutes
, the President-elect said: “If it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it!”
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Being a high-powered lawyer who’s part of the partnership at America’s most prestigious law firms doesn’t mean one won’t be subjected to racial discrimination. That’s especially true as some Americans may be feeling that racist behaviour is now nothing to be frowned upon following the election of Donald J. Trump as the next president.