|Balch Bingham's all-white new hires|
Birmingham's Balch Bingham law firm recently announced the hiring of eight new associates -- and all of them are white, according to a report at banbalch.com. The firm's leadership seems to have a tin ear, given its widely reported ties to racist U.S. Senate candidate (and former Trump attorney general) Jeff Sessions and the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal, which essentially was a scheme to keep corporate polluters from being held accountable for poisoning a heavily black neighborhood.
Balch is located in the heart of a city that is more than 70 percent black, but it seems fine with presenting a lily-white face to he public. Four of the new white hires will work in Birmingham, with the other four set to work at firm satellites in Jackson, MS; Gulfport, MS; and Atlanta, GA. From a report at banbalch, headed by publisher K.B. Forbes:
Demonstrating again that Balch Bingham’s leadership in Birmingham is oblivious to their own alleged institutional racism, the embattled firm recently announced the hiring of eight new associates throughout its footprint, including four in Birmingham.
All of the new associates are white.
Coming on the heels of a $19.5 million verdict loss in Miami, Balch’s attempts to rehabilitate their image appear to have sputtered.
Last spring, the firm let go of their only female African-American attorney in the Birmingham office, Kimberly Bell.
Bell was one of the lead attorneys representing Balch in the Newsome Conspiracy Case.
Bell was a member of the Birmingham Bar Association’s Diversity and Inclusivity Committee, according to Balch’s 2016 Diversity Report.
A Balch press release, dated 11/19/19, provides a rundown of the new, all-white hires.
What about a big-picture view of Balch's hiring practices. That comes from a banbalch post in May 2019:
Of the 203 profiled attorneys, partner, and staff on Balch’s website we reviewed… only three were African-American women, while two additional attorneys were African-American men.
All five African-Americans attorneys, partners, or Of Counsel appear to each be in a different regional office (Atlanta, Birmingham, Gulfport, Jackson, and Montgomery).
When you add the new additional attorney in Augusta, less than 2.5% of Balch and Bingham’s attorneys, partners, and top staff is African-American, according to a review of Balch’s website.
Yet, Balch’s footprint shows a different story according to U.S.Census figures:
* Atlanta is 54% African-American.
* Augusta is 54% African-American.
* Birmingham is 73% African-American.
* Gulfport is 36% African-American.
* Jackson, MS is 79% African-American.
* Jacksonville, FL is 30% African-American.
* Montgomery is 56% African-American.
* Vidalia, GA is 40% African-American.
* Washington,DC is 50% African-American.
Institutional racism is real.
Besides all of the alleged unsavory, unethical and foolish behavior engulfing the once prestigious firm, the lack of diversity appears to be another black-eye that could potentially cause more clients to flee.
It has been reported for years that Jeff Sessions is a racist -- and recent reports indicate he has a habit of surrounding himself with racists, such as current Trump adviser Stephen Miller. With Sessions is running to reclaim his U.S. Senate race in 2020, is Balch trying to earn favor with the "evil elf" by adding to its already overwhelmingly white roster of attorneys?