The experiences of Larry Mungin, as detailed in Paul Barrett's novel, The Good Black provide the reader with a good framework for understanding the complex issues that face companies and employees when racial questions are on the table. Mungin's experiences at Katten Muchin & Zavis reflect the problems that are involved when a company moves to diversify its work force and the challenges minorities face when considering employment opportunities. One can see that the problems of defining racism against the context of poor management and the typical corporate working environment is extremely difficult. The subsequent litigation in this dispute also gives one insight into the problems of trying a racial discrimination suit.
To best understand the problems that developed between Larry Mungin and his employers as Katten Muchin & Zavis one must consider the reasons why he was offered employment. The position that Mungin was to fill was a recent construct of Mark Dombroff. Dombroff had only recently become a member of the firm himself and was recruited as a "rainmaker" for the firm. Dombroff's first move at Katten Muchin and Zavis was to aggressively pursue a new track for the firm. He envisioned as inclusive Insurance and bankruptcy practice which would cater to the needs of large corporate clients.
Enter Larry Mungin. Mungin was a burgeoning bankruptcy lawyer ready to aggressively pursue a partnership. This was not Mungin's first job, in fact he was looking for a firm in which he could launch his bid for a partnership as he entered his eight year of practicing law. He sought the services of a headhunter who paired him up with Katten Muchin & Zavis. Mungin's headhunter overplayed the possibility of Mungin bringing the FDIC with him if he were to accept an offer from Katten Muchin & Zavis. One can speculate that Dombroff initially considered Mungin because of the possibility of K.M.&Z adding the FDIC to their client list. However, it is also clear that Mungin's race became a deciding factor in his hire. As Dombroff noted " Harvard-Harvard, Weil Gotshal. His experience is bankruptcy, bankruptcy, bankruptcy. He's perfect! And he's black."(Barrett,p.9) Ergo, despite the reservations of partners like Vincent Sergi, concerning the amount of work available for Mungin, Dombroff offered Mungin a job.
Larry Mungin also had some expectations of his own as he considered taking a job at Katten Muchin & Zavis. As we know Larry Mungin sought a job with a firm in which he would be able to make partner.