Women and Minorities in Law Firms

NALP Bulletin, February 2003 

Law firms represented in the 2002-2003 NALP Directory of Legal Employers collectively reported demographic information on more than 49,000 partners and over 61,000 associates, senior attorneys, and staff attorneys. Minorities accounted for 3.71% of partners and just over 14% of associates. The comparable figures for women were 16.3% and 42.4%, respectively.

Underlying these averages are well over 1,200 individual law offices, with percentages starting at zero and ranging upward. Thus, an additional perspective on the presence of women and minorities is offered by examining how many offices have relatively high representation, some representation, or no representation of women and minorities.

The charts below show these figures for the 38 cities and seven states (excluding the 38 cities) with the most Directory listings.

 

  • Nationwide, a plurality of offices (44%) had no minority partners, but about 22% reported minority representation of 6% or more. Among cities, the percentage of offices with 6% or more minority partners ranged from none in Cincinnati, Denver, Hartford, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Nashville, Philadelphia, Richmond, St. Louis, and Wilmington, to half or more in Los Angeles, Miami, and San Jose. Cities with the highest proportion of offices reporting no minority partners include Cincinnati, Hartford, Raleigh/Durham, and Wilmington.

  • About one in nine offices reported having no women partners. Almost one-third of offices reported that 19% or more of partners were women. In Miami, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, San Diego, and San Francisco, half or more of offices reported 19% or more of partners were women. Interestingly, it was an entirely different group of cities — Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Richmond, and St. Louis — where every reporting office had at least some women partners.

  • About 19% of offices reported no minority associates, but about 30% reported minority representation of 16% or more. Among cities, offices in Cincinnati, Hartford, and Kansas City were most likely to report no minority associates. Offices with 16% or more minority representation were most plentiful in Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, and San Jose.

  • Offices where fewer than one-third of associates were women were most common in Charlotte and Richmond. In contrast, few or none of the offices in Boston, Indianapolis, and Newark reported less than one-third women associates. Cities most likely to have offices where women accounted for half or more of associates include Cincinnati, Denver, Hartford, Newark, and San Francisco.

  • Larger firms (251 or more attorneys) are more likely to have no women partners than smaller firms (250 or fewer attorneys). However, smaller firms are more likely to have no minority partners and associates.

  • Compared with data for 2000, the percentage of offices in the "none" categories has decreased — the percentage of offices with no minority partners decreased from 48% to 43.5%, and the percentage of offices with no minority associates decreased from 23.4% to 19.3%. The percentage of offices with no women partners changed only slightly, from 12.4% to 11.5%.

Representation of Women and Minorities among Law Firm Partners — 2002
(percent of offices in each range of representation)


WOMEN PARTNERS
AS % OF TOTAL
MINORITY PARTNERS
AS % OF TOTAL
# of
Offices
None 0.01-
13%
13.01-
18.99%
19%
or More
None 0.01-
3%
3.01-
5.99%
6%
or More
Nationwide 11.5 27.0 30.6 30.9 43.5 15.4 19.5 21.6 1,264
By Firm Size:
100 or fewer 9.0 30.6 28.1 32.4 54.7 11.5 16.9 16.9 278
101-250 9.3 28.5 33.8 28.5 41.3 25.6 19.2 13.9 281
251-500 12.1 22.2 33.0 32.7 42.1 14.5 18.9 24.6 297
501+ 14.4 26.9 28.4 30.3 38.5 11.8 21.8 27.9 408
By City:
Atlanta 9.7 32.3 29.0 29.0 32.3 19.4 25.8 22.6 31
Austin 20.0 15.0 25.0 40.0 50.0 5.0 10.0 35.0 20
Baltimore 11.1 11.1 55.6 22.2 0.0 55.6 22.2 22.2 9
Boston 7.4 18.5 48.1 25.9 44.4 14.8 33.3 7.4 27
Charlotte 33.3 53.3 6.7 6.7 60.0 20.0 6.7 13.3 15
Chicago 0.0 25.8 45.2 29.0 35.5 27.4 24.2 12.9 62
Cincinnati 33.3 33.3 33.3 0.0 77.8 11.1 11.1 0.0 9
Cleveland 0.0 45.5 36.4 18.2 18.2 45.5 9.1 27.3 11
Columbus 16.7 41.7 25.0 16.7 41.7 8.3 25.0 25.0 12
Dallas 9.4 28.1 15.6 46.9 40.6 21.9 18.8 18.8 32
Denver 16.7 11.1 33.3 38.9 50.0 22.2 27.8 0.0 18
Detroit area 15.4 15.4 30.8 38.5 23.1 23.1 38.5 15.4 13
Hartford 27.3 18.2 27.3 27.3 90.9 0.0 9.1 0.0 11
Houston 10.3 20.7 41.4 27.6 41.4 3.4 24.1 31.0 29
Indianapolis 0.0 33.3 33.3 33.3 66.7 16.7 16.7 0.0 6
Kansas City area 9.1 18.2 54.5 18.2 63.6 18.2 18.2 0.0 11
Los Angeles 6.3 24.1 32.9 36.7 29.1 5.1 13.9 51.9 79
Miami 10.0 25.0 15.0 50.0 15.0 0.0 5.0 80.0 20
Milwaukee 11.1 0.0 88.9 0.0 44.4 55.6 0.0 0.0 9
Minneapolis/St. Paul 11.1 22.2 50.0 16.7 33.3 44.4 11.1 11.1 18
Nashville 12.5 25.0 50.0 12.5 37.5 25.0 37.5 0.0 8
New York City 6.3 50.0 26.6 17.2 34.6 18.1 30.7 16.5 127
Newark 42.9 28.6 28.6 0.0 57.1 28.6 0.0 14.3 7
Orange Co., CA 26.1 26.1 26.1 21.7 56.5 8.7 21.7 13.0 23
Philadelphia 4.8 14.3 28.6 52.4 33.3 47.6 19.0 0.0 21
Phoenix 0.0 23.1 38.5 38.5 30.8 7.7 53.8 7.7 13
Pittsburgh 0.0 33.3 41.7 25.0 66.7 16.7 8.3 8.3 12
Portland, OR 23.1 15.4 30.8 30.8 61.5 15.4 7.7 15.4 13
Raleigh/Durham 11.1 33.3 0.0 55.6 88.9 0.0 0.0 11.1 9
Richmond 0.0 37.5 50.0 12.5 12.5 25.0 62.5 0.0 8
San Diego 6.3 37.5 6.3 50.0 37.5 12.5 25.0 25.0 16
San Francisco 10.2 10.2 14.3 65.3 30.6 2.0 28.6 38.8 49
San Jose area 18.5 22.2 18.5 40.7 37.0 0.0 14.8 48.1 27
Seattle area 17.2 10.3 31.0 41.4 34.5 17.2 20.7 27.6 29
St. Louis 0.0 0.0 75.0 25.0 37.5 62.5 0.0 0.0 8
Tampa/St. Petersburg 25.0 8.3 58.3 8.3 33.3 16.7 25.0 25.0 12
Washington, D.C. 9.9 22.1 37.4 30.5 36.6 12.2 23.7 27.5 131
Wilmington 11.1 55.6 22.2 11.1 88.9 0.0 11.1 0.0 9
By State:
California 12.5 37.5 6.3 43.8 37.5 6.3 18.8 37.5 16
Florida 9.5 23.8 23.8 42.9 61.9 9.5 4.8 23.8 21
Michigan 9.1 36.4 18.2 36.4 45.5 36.4 0.0 18.2 11
New Jersey 5.6 38.9 27.8 27.8 61.1 16.7 16.7 5.6 18
New York 0.0 33.3 46.7 20.0 73.3 20.0 0.0 6.7 15
Texas 25.0 25.0 8.3 41.7 50.0 8.3 0.0 41.7 12
Virginia 40.0 36.0 8.0 16.0 76.0 4.0 4.0 16.0 25

Note: The associates category includes senior and staff attorneys. The Detroit area includes offices in Bingham Farms, Bloomfield Hills, and Southfield. The Kansas City area includes offices in Leawood and Overland Park. Orange County includes offices in Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Newport Beach. Portland, OR, includes offices in Lake Oswego. The San Jose area includes offices in Menlo Park, Palo Alto, San Jose, and Sunnyvale. The Seattle area includes offices in Bellevue and Kirkland. State information excludes any cities listed separately. Foreign offices are excluded from these analyses. Source: 2002-2003 NALP Directory of Legal Employers.

Representation of Women and Minorities among Law Firm Associates — 2002
(percent of offices in each range of representation)


WOMEN ASSOCIATES
AS % OF TOTAL
MINORITY ASSOCIATES
AS % OF TOTAL
# of
Offices
Up to
33%
33.01-
40.99%
41-
49.99%
50%
or More
None 0.01-
9%
9.01-
15.99%
16%
or More
Nationwide 20.5 25.3 26.2 27.9 19.3 20.3 30.6 29.8 1,262
By Firm Size:
100 or fewer 25.5 25.5 16.5 32.4 35.6 22.3 21.6 20.5 278
101-250 23.5 23.1 27.0 26.3 17.4 29.2 31.7 21.7 281
251-500 16.3 23.7 26.1 33.9 21.7 19.0 30.2 29.2 295
501+ 18.1 27.9 32.3 21.8 7.8 13.7 36.3 42.2 408
By City:
Atlanta 22.6 25.8 29.0 22.6 6.5 16.1 38.7 38.7 31
Austin 20.0 25.0 35.0 20.0 10.0 10.0 30.0 50.0 20
Baltimore 11.1 33.3 33.3 22.2 22.2 44.4 33.3 0.0 9
Boston 3.7 14.8 44.4 37.0 14.8 29.6 55.6 0.0 27
Charlotte 46.7 20.0 20.0 13.3 26.7 53.3 6.7 13.3 15
Chicago 19.4 21.0 24.2 35.5 16.1 30.6 40.3 12.9 62
Cincinnati 12.5 37.5 0.0 50.0 37.5 37.5 25.0 0.0 8
Cleveland 27.3 18.2 54.5 0.0 27.3 54.5 18.2 0.0 11
Columbus 33.3 33.3 16.7 16.7 33.3 33.3 25.0 8.3 12
Dallas 31.3 21.9 12.5 34.4 12.5 25.0 56.3 6.3 32
Denver 33.3 11.1 11.1 44.4 11.1 33.3 27.8 27.8 18
Detroit area 15.4 30.8 23.1 30.8 15.4 23.1 46.2 15.4 13
Hartford 18.2 0.0 36.4 45.5 45.5 18.2 36.4 0.0 11
Houston 37.9 20.7 34.5 6.9 13.8 6.9 41.4 37.9 29
Indianapolis 0.0 33.3 50.0 16.7 33.3 50.0 16.7 0.0 6
Kansas City area 9.1 36.4 27.3 27.3 36.4 63.6 0.0 0.0 11
Los Angeles 15.2 20.3 35.4 29.1 3.8 5.1 20.3 70.9 79
Miami 10.0 15.0 35.0 40.0 15.0 0.0 5.0 80.0 20
Milwaukee 11.1 55.6 22.2 11.1 22.2 55.6 22.2 0.0 9
Minneapolis/St. Paul 33.3 5.6 38.9 22.2 5.6 38.9 44.4 11.1 18
Nashville 25.0 37.5 12.5 25.0 12.5 87.5 0.0 0.0 8
New York City 14.8 29.7 34.4 21.1 10.2 15.0 29.9 44.9 127
Newark 0.0 28.6 14.3 57.1 0.0 0.0 71.4 28.6 7
Orange Co., CA 21.7 30.4 26.1 21.7 13.0 4.3 39.1 43.5 23
Philadelphia 14.3 23.8 33.3 28.6 23.8 28.6 38.1 9.5 21
Phoenix 15.4 53.8 15.4 15.4 15.4 38.5 23.1 23.1 13
Pittsburgh 25.0 33.3 33.3 8.3 25.0 50.0 25.0 0.0 12
Portland, OR 23.1 30.8 23.1 23.1 30.8 38.5 23.1 7.7 13
Raleigh/Durham 22.2 44.4 11.1 22.2 33.3 44.4 22.2 0.0 9
Richmond 50.0 25.0 12.5 12.5 25.0 50.0 25.0 0.0 8
San Diego 31.3 18.8 25.0 25.0 12.5 12.5 37.5 37.5 16
San Francisco 8.2 18.4 18.4 55.1 10.2 4.1 30.6 55.1 49
San Jose area 18.5 44.4 14.8 22.2 3.7 0.0 7.4 88.9 27
Seattle area 24.1 13.8 37.9 24.1 20.7 10.3 31.0 37.9 29
St. Louis 12.5 25.0 50.0 12.5 0.0 50.0 50.0 0.0 8
Tampa/St. Petersburg 16.7 50.0 25.0 8.3 25.0 25.0 41.7 8.3 12
Washington, D.C. 13.1 24.6 29.2 33.1 11.5 10.0 36.9 41.5 130
Wilmington 22.2 44.4 22.2 11.1 33.3 33.3 22.2 11.1 9
By State:
California 25.0 25.0 0.0 50.0 6.3 6.3 37.5 50.0 16
Florida 14.3 33.3 14.3 38.1 23.8 9.5 33.3 33.3 21
Michigan 36.4 27.3 0.0 36.4 54.5 9.1 27.3 9.1 11
New Jersey 22.2 33.3 22.2 22.2 16.7 27.8 44.4 11.1 18
New York 20.0 33.3 20.0 26.7 26.7 40.0 26.7 6.7 15
Texas 33.3 8.3 16.7 41.7 41.7 0.0 25.0 33.3 12
Virginia 56.0 16.0 8.0 20.0 28.0 20.0 28.0 24.0 25

Note: The associates category includes senior and staff attorneys. The Detroit area includes offices in Bingham Farms, Bloomfield Hills, and Southfield. The Kansas City area includes offices in Leawood and Overland Park. Orange County includes offices in Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Newport Beach. Portland, OR, includes offices in Lake Oswego. The San Jose area includes offices in Menlo Park, Palo Alto, San Jose, and Sunnyvale. The Seattle area includes offices in Bellevue and Kirkland. State information excludes any cities listed separately. Foreign offices are excluded from these analyses. Source: 2002-2003 NALP Directory of Legal Employers.

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