Representation of Attorneys of Color at Law Firms Today

NALP Bulletin, January 2002 

Analyses of the 2001 NALP Directory of Legal Employers data show that attorneys of color are relatively more common at government and public interest organizations than at law firms. Attorneys of color accounted for 3.55% of the more than 48,000 partners collectively reported by law firms. Among a far smaller number of public service employers, attorneys of color accounted for 10% of the more than 6,000 supervising attorneys reported. Attorneys of color are defined as African-Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and Hispanics of any race.

The composition of the attorney of color population also differs between the two types of employers. In law firms, African-Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics were relatively equally represented among partners. At public service employers, African-Americans accounted for almost half of the reported supervising attorneys of color. (The small number of Native Americans — 46 partners and 17 supervising attorneys — are not analyzed in any detail here.)

Among the nearly 60,000 associates and staff or senior attorneys reported by law firms, somewhat more than one in seven (13.7%) were attorneys of color, with Asian/Pacific Islanders most common (48% of associates of color), followed by African-Americans. Public service employers reported that nearly one in five of the more than 18,000 staff attorneys were people of color. Among this group, African-Americans were most common (45% of the total), followed by Hispanics.

The presence of partners and associates of color at law firms varies by firm size and, to an even greater degree, across cities. For example:

  • The percentage of partners of color as a whole is highest at firms of 501 or more attorneys. African-American and Hispanic partners are most common at the largest firms; in contrast, representation of Asian/Pacific Islanders is greatest at firms of 100 or fewer.

  • Representation of attorneys of color among partners is highest in Miami, followed by Los Angeles and the San Jose area. Miami's partners of color are overwhelmingly Hispanic, whereas in Los Angeles and the San Jose area Asian/Pacific Islanders account for the largest share of partners of color, about half the total. These differences are indicative of the population characteristics of these areas.

  • In cities such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Detroit, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and Richmond, most of the partners of color are African-American, whereas in cities such as Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Washington, D.C., no one group accounts for the bulk of partners of color. A number of cities reported no Asian/Pacific or Hispanic representation among partners, but all cities reported at least some African-American partners.

  • Representation of attorneys of color among associates in general, and most notably of Asian/Pacific Islanders specifically, is highest at the largest firms.

  • Associates of color are most prevalent in Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the San Jose area. Again in Miami associates of color were largely Hispanic. The majority of associates of color in the San Francisco/San Jose area were Asian/Pacific Islander.

  • Dallas, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, and Portland are notable for a fairly equal representation of the three groups of color among associates.

Attorney Demographics at Public Service Employers


Total Number

% Of Color

% African-
American

% Asian/
P.Islander

% Hispanic

Supervising attorneys

7,035

10.46

5.42

1.69

3.11

Staff attorneys

18,217

19.21

8.57

4.51

5.81

Source: The 2001 NALP Directory of Legal Employers.

 

Attorney Demographics at Private and Public Sector Employers — 2001


Total # of Partners

% Of Color

% African-
American

% Asian/
P.Islander

% Hispanic

Total # of Associates

% Of Color

% African-
American

% Asian/
P.Islander

% Hispanic

Overall

48,540

3.55

1.28

1.14

1.04

59,564

13.70

4.24

6.52

2.74

100 or fewer

7,730

3.61

0.85

1.85

0.80

5,987

9.75

2.99

4.41

2.17

101-250

14,056

2.96

1.26

0.82

0.80

13,614

11.41

3.89

5.11

2.20

251-500

12,336

3.40

1.36

0.92

1.03

15,760

13.01

4.45

5.77

2.55

501+

14,366

4.25

1.45

1.27

1.42

24,182

16.43

4.62

8.32

3.32

Atlanta

1,333

3.15

3.00

0.08

0.08

1,675

12.30

8.30

2.99

0.96

Austin

402

4.98

1.99

0.00

2.74

549

12.75

2.91

3.46

5.83

Baltimore

493

3.85

3.04

0.20

0.61

368

8.97

5.71

2.72

0.54

Birmingham

357

1.96

1.68

0.28

0.00

220

3.64

2.27

0.91

0.45

Boston

1,741

2.47

1.15

0.92

0.34

2,612

10.11

2.60

5.28

2.18

Charlotte

364

3.57

1.37

1.37

0.82

372

5.91

4.30

0.27

1.08

Chicago

3,788

2.80

1.11

0.98

0.69

3,719

10.14

3.39

5.03

1.56

Cincinnati

321

0.93

0.62

0.31

0.00

252

3.97

3.57

0.40

0.00

Cleveland

723

3.32

2.35

0.83

0.14

737

6.24

3.12

2.31

0.68

Columbus

581

2.93

2.07

0.69

0.17

493

8.11

3.85

2.84

0.81

Dallas

1,338

2.84

0.82

0.60

1.20

1,615

10.90

3.59

2.97

4.09

Denver

522

2.68

1.34

0.57

0.77

477

10.48

3.14

2.31

4.61

Detroit area

585

4.44

3.76

0.17

0.34

324

12.96

8.95

2.16

0.93

Hartford

257

0.78

0.78

0.00

0.00

264

7.20

3.41

1.52

1.14

Houston

1,095

3.20

0.73

0.27

2.10

1,292

13.47

4.88

3.56

4.88

Indianapolis

299

1.67

1.67

0.00

0.00

238

7.14

5.88

0.84

0.42

Kansas City area

524

1.15

0.95

0.19

0.00

547

6.03

3.66

1.10

1.28

Los Angeles

2,224

6.74

1.66

3.01

1.98

3,196

23.31

4.54

13.30

5.19

Miami

401

20.70

2.00

1.00

17.46

373

34.05

5.63

0.80

27.61

Milwaukee

675

1.19

0.30

0.30

0.44

516

6.40

2.91

2.13

1.36

Minneapolis/St. Paul

1,088

1.19

0.46

0.18

0.37

887

9.92

3.27

4.40

1.47

Nashville

256

1.56

1.56

0.00

0.00

229

2.62

1.75

0.44

0.44

New Orleans

306

2.94

1.63

0.00

1.31

201

7.46

6.47

0.50

0.50

New York City

5,757

3.65

0.99

1.55

1.08

12,281

16.80

4.60

9.21

2.91

Orange Co., CA

431

3.25

0.46

1.39

1.39

631

15.69

0.48

11.57

3.17

Philadelphia

1,033

1.94

1.74

0.19

0.00

1,146

8.81

3.32

4.19

1.22

Phoenix

563

2.49

0.89

0.18

1.42

500

12.00

3.40

3.60

4.80

Pittsburgh

567

1.06

0.71

0.35

0.00

603

5.80

2.32

2.65

0.83

Portland, OR

413

2.66

0.24

1.21

0.73

334

11.08

3.29

4.49

2.99

Richmond

480

3.54

2.50

0.42

0.42

407

8.85

6.14

1.97

0.74

San Diego

365

3.56

0.27

1.10

2.19

565

13.45

2.30

6.37

4.42

San Francisco

1,215

5.27

1.23

2.47

1.32

1,703

19.67

3.88

12.04

3.64

San Jose area

672

7.29

0.74

4.32

1.79

2,080

25.91

2.93

20.43

2.21

Seattle area

899

5.45

1.11

3.56

0.44

819

13.80

2.56

8.30

2.20

St. Louis

499

1.40

0.60

0.40

0.40

412

9.71

4.85

2.67

1.21

Tampa/St. Petersburg

369

2.71

0.27

0.00

2.44

243

7.82

3.29

0.82

3.70

Washington, DC

5,108

3.80

1.86

0.98

0.88

6,715

14.10

6.15

5.54

2.19

Wilmington

229

0.44

0.44

0.00

0.00

224

8.48

4.46

3.13

0.89

Source: The 2001 NALP Directory of Legal Employers. Nationwide, a total of 1,279 law offices and 119 government/public interest employers are represented. For law firms that repeated firmwide information on attorneys of color for each office listing, demographic information was retained for just one office to avoid double counting. The associates category includes senior and staff attorneys. The Kansas City area includes offices in Leawood and Overland Park, Kansas. Orange County includes offices in Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Newport Beach. The San Jose area includes offices in Cupertino, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, San Jose, and Sunnyvale. The Seattle area includes offices in Bellevue and Kirkland. The Detroit area includes offices in Bloomfield Hills and Troy.

National Association for Law Placement, Inc.® (NALP®)
1220 19th Street NW, Suite 401, Washington, DC 20036-2405
(202) 835-1001 info@nalp.org
© Copyright 2019 NALP

STAY CONNECTED



View Full Site