According to the American Bar Association, only 5 percent of the practicing attorneys in the U.S. as of 2010 were Black.
In 2016, Black women made up 0.64 percent of law firm partners and 2.32 percent of law firm associates. At the associate level, the number of Black women lawyers at law firms peaked in 2008, just before the financial crisis, at 2.97 percent, according to the National Association of Law Placement (NALP).
Well, while those numbers may seem dismal, one group of women at Elon University in North Carolina didn’t let that deter them and are among the largest group of African American women graduating in law from the school.
The women took a picture together to celebrate their acheivement and the photo quickly went viral.
Ashley Williams, one of the women set to get her Juris Doctor degree in December, shares with Yahoo Lifestyle that the group was inspired to collaborate on a photo shoot together to celebrate their accomplishments. “We are all friends, we have Sunday dinner together, we also study together. So we spend a lot of time with one another,” she shares.
This support system has helped Anika Bailey, 24, overcome challenges. “Our law school is a predominately white institution, so there aren’t many people in our school who look like us or can understand what challenges we face as women of color seeking to enter the legal profession,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We shared the pictures to spread positivity and maybe inspire a few people.”
“We never expected it to go viral,” says Williams. “We worked hard to push one another through school. Now, this is the outcome.”