Recent research from NALP reveals that attorneys of color account for 4.04% of the partners in the nation's major law firms and that women account for 16.81% of the partners in these firms. These numbers suggest that, relative to total headcounts, women attorneys and attorneys of color are under-represented among partnership ranks at these firms. However, these figures also document a continuing, albeit small, increase from data compiled in 2002. The presence of women attorneys and attorneys of color in large law firms has been rising steadily since 1993 - at that time attorneys of color accounted for 2.55% and women accounted for 12.27% of partners.
These are among the findings of NALP's recent analyses of the 2003-2004 NALP Directory of Legal Employers, the annual compendium of legal employer data published by NALP. The 2003-2004 Directory consisted primarily of large firm listings and included attorney demographic information for almost 117,000 partners, associates, staff attorneys and senior attorneys in about 625 firms nationwide.
The current data reveals that, nationally, women attorneys hold 43.02% of associate or staff/senior attorney positions and that attorneys of color hold 14.63% of these positions. Each group lagged in their representation by about 5 percentage points compared to the population of recent law school graduates. Attorneys of color are defined as including African-Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Hispanics of any race, and multi-cultural individuals. Women attorneys and attorneys of color were best represented among summer associates; 18.67% of summer associates were of color, while women accounted for about 49% of summer associates, as illustrated in the attached table.
A parallel analysis of the 40 cities with the most attorneys represented in the Directory revealed considerable variations in these measures. Among the largest of these cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco consistently show higher numbers of both women attorneys and attorneys of color across all levels. Attorneys of color accounted for 7.02% and 6.19% of partners in these cities respectively, and women accounted for 18.24% and 21.43% of partners respectively.
Among smaller cities, this was true of Miami, where women accounted for 19.72% of partners; attorneys of color, many of whom are Hispanic, accounted for 19.41% of partners. Some cities ranked high on specific measures. For example, cities with relatively high percentages of women partners include: Austin, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, Raleigh/Durham, San Diego, San Jose, and Seattle - all of whom reported at least 18% women partners. Austin and San Jose had relatively high percentages of partners of color.
Offices in Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, and the San Jose area ranked highest on representation of attorneys of color among associates, where representation was one in five or greater. Representation of women among associates was highest in Baltimore, Denver, Indianapolis, Miami, and San Francisco. Conversely, some cities, such as Birmingham, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Milwaukee, Nashville, Northern Virginia, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Tampa/St. Petersburg, and Wilmington were below average on both measures, and considerably so with respect to associates of color.
Miami's higher representation of attorneys of color was also reflected in figures for summer associates; summer associates of color accounted for almost half of those reported in the city. Other cities ranking relatively high on this measure included Austin, Baltimore, Newark, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the San Jose area.
A similar analysis of 6 states with substantial Directory representation beyond that for specific cities also yielded interesting findings. Representation of attorneys of color among partners was highest in California, Florida and Texas, and considerably below average in New Jersey, Michigan, and New York. Michigan and New York were also well below average with respect to minority representation among associates. Conversely, Michigan stands out with the highest percentage of minority summer associates.
Women and Attorneys of Color at Law Firms — 2003
Note: The count of offices shown in the last column, indicates the number of offices with demographic information on partners and associates. The number of offices with demographics for summer associates is somewhat less. For law firms that reported firm-wide information on attorneys of color for each office listing, demographic information was retained for just one office, usually the "home" 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 Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, and Sunnyvale. The Seattle area includes offices in Bellevue and Kirkland. The Detroit area includes offices in Bloomfield Hills, Bingham Farms, and Southfield. The Newark area includes offices in Newark, West Orange, and Roseland. A few offices in Canada and Puerto Rico are included; offices in Europe and Asia are excluded.
Source: The 2003-2004 NALP Directory of Legal Employers.
|Addtional Info:||About NALP: Founded in 1971 as the National Association for Law Placement, Inc.,® NALP — The Association for Legal Career Professionals — is dedicated to facilitating legal career counseling and planning, recruitment and retention, and the professional development of law students and lawyers. To contact NALP, call 202-835-1001.|