Women and Attorneys of Color at Law Firms

NALP Bulletin, January 2004 

Law firms represented in the 2003-2004 NALP Directory of Legal Employers (NDLE) collectively reported demographic information on 53,000 partners and almost 63,000 associates, senior attorneys, and staff attorneys. Attorneys of color accounted for 4.04% of partners and 14.63% of associates. The comparable figures for women were 16.8% and 43%, respectively.

Underlying these averages are well over 1,300 individual law offices, with percentages starting at zero and ranging upward. Thus, an additional perspective on the presence of women and attorneys of color is offered by examining how many offices have relatively high representation, some representation, or no representation of women and attorneys of color.

The charts below show these figures for the 40 cities and six states (excluding the 40 cities) with the most Directory listings.

  • Nationwide, a plurality of offices (43%) had no partners of color.
  • Although every city had at least some firms reporting partners of color, cities varied a great deal on the percentage of firms reporting partners of color. For example, very few offices in Baltimore and Miami, 11% and 14% of offices respectively, had no partners of color. Conversely, most (over 70%), but not all, of the offices in Hartford, Northern Virginia, Raleigh/Durham, and Wilmington reported no partners of color.
  • Almost one-quarter of all offices reported that at least 6% of partners were of color, but again cities varied on this measure. Of the 40 cities, 11, including Richmond, St. Louis, and Birmingham, did not have any offices reporting partners of color. Cities with the most firms in this category include Austin, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose.
  • About one in nine offices reported having no women partners. Just over one-third of offices reported that 19% or more of partners were women. Again, variations by city are evident. Every city had at least some offices reporting women partners. In a number of cities — Birmingham, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and Richmond — every reporting office had at least some women partners. An entirely different set of cities, though — Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, San Diego, and San Francisco — had the highest proportion of offices in which women comprised 19% or more of partners.
  • About 21% of all offices reported no associates of color, but approximately one-third reported 16% or more associates of color. Although every city had at least some offices with associates of color, Cincinnati, Hartford, Pittsburgh, and Richmond had the fewest such offices. Cities in which a high percentage of offices reported 16% or more associates of color include: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orange County, San Francisco, and San Jose.
  • Offices where fewer than one-third of associates were women were most common in Charlotte and Northern Virginia. In contrast, few or none of the offices in Hartford, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh reported fewer than one-third women associates. Cities most likely to have offices where women accounted for half or more of associates include Cincinnati, Denver, Miami, and San Francisco.
  • Compared with data from the 2002-2003 NDLE, the percentage of offices in each of the "none"categories has changed very little. However, there was a small but noticeable increase in the percentage of offices in the 6% or more partners of color category, and in the 19% or more women partners category. A similar trend holds with respect to associates.

Representation of Women and Attorneys of Color
among Law Firm Partners — 2003
(percent of offices in each range of representation)

 


WOMEN PARTNERS AS % OF TOTAL PARTNERS OF COLOR 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 11.1 25.8 28.9 34.2 43.0 13.7 20.2 23.1 1,357
By Firm Size:
100 or fewer 10.3 32.1 23.5 34.1 52.6 9.9 19.2 18.2 302
101-250 9.0 25.2 34.1 31.7 39.3 25.2 19.7 15.9 290
251-500 10.5 24.1 27.0 38.4 47.0 13.7 17.1 22.2 315
501+ 13.3 23.1 30.4 32.9 36.0 8.9 23.3 31.8 450
By City:
Atlanta 8.8 29.4 26.5 32.4 32.4 17.6 20.6 29.4 34
Austin 14.3 14.3 33.3 38.1 28.6 9.5 4.8 57.1 21
Baltimore 11.1 11.1 44.4 33.3 11.1 22.2 55.6 11.1 9
Birmingham 85.7 14.3 28.6 42.9 28.6 7
Boston 6.3 25.0 34.4 34.4 43.8 15.6 31.3 9.4 32
Charlotte 33.3 46.7 13.3 6.7 60.0 20.0 6.7 13.3 15
Chicago 26.3 43.9 29.8 33.3 24.6 29.8 12.3 57
Cincinnati 18.2 36.4 36.4 9.1 54.5 18.2 9.1 18.2 11
Cleveland 46.2 15.4 38.5 23.1 30.8 46.2 13
Columbus 14.3 28.6 28.6 28.6 35.7 7.1 21.4 35.7 14
Dallas 8.6 22.9 22.9 45.7 31.4 25.7 20.0 22.9 35
Denver 16.7 11.1 22.2 50.0 33.3 16.7 27.8 22.2 18
Detroit area 29.4 29.4 41.2 29.4 17.6 41.2 11.8 17
Hartford 14.3 28.6 21.4 35.7 78.6 14.3 7.1 14
Houston 9.4 18.8 40.6 31.3 34.4 6.3 25.0 34.4 32
Indianapolis 50.0 16.7 33.3 50.0 16.7 33.3 6
Kansas City area 9.1 36.4 36.4 18.2 54.5 36.4 9.1 11
Los Angeles 5.1 26.9 21.8 46.2 34.6 6.4 12.8 46.2 78
Miami 4.8 28.6 23.8 42.9 14.3 4.8 81.0 21
Milwaukee 11.1 11.1 55.6 22.2 44.4 55.6 9
Minneapolis/St. Paul 5.0 15.0 50.0 30.0 40.0 35.0 15.0 10.0 20
Nashville 11.1 22.2 44.4 22.2 33.3 22.2 44.4 9
New York City 6.9 42.0 28.2 22.9 37.4 14.5 28.2 19.8 131
Newark 25.0 41.7 16.7 16.7 58.3 16.7 8.3 16.7 12
Northern Virginia 40.0 30.0 15.0 15.0 70.0 30.0 20
Orange Co., CA 29.2 20.8 29.2 20.8 62.5 25.0 12.5 24
Philadelphia 4.3 17.4 30.4 47.8 34.8 47.8 17.4 23
Phoenix 26.7 33.3 40.0 33.3 53.3 13.3 15
Pittsburgh 20.0 40.0 40.0 66.7 13.3 13.3 6.7 15
Portland, OR 14.3 7.1 50.0 28.6 50.0 14.3 21.4 14.3 14
Raleigh/Durham 10.0 40.0 10.0 40.0 90.0 10.0 10
Richmond 33.3 66.7 22.2 44.4 33.3 9
San Diego 5.6 33.3 16.7 44.4 33.3 11.1 16.7 38.9 18
San Francisco 12.3 8.8 22.8 56.1 33.3 1.8 19.3 45.6 57
San Jose area 27.3 15.2 24.2 33.3 42.4 9.1 48.5 33
Seattle area 15.2 9.1 39.4 36.4 30.3 12.1 27.3 30.3 33
St. Louis 11.1 66.7 22.2 33.3 66.7 9
Tampa/St. Petersburg 23.1 30.8 30.8 15.4 38.5 15.4 15.4 30.8 13
Washington, D.C. 8.5 21.7 32.6 37.2 34.1 12.4 27.9 25.6 129
Wilmington 27.3 45.5 18.2 9.1 90.9 9.1 11
By State:
California 13.6 22.7 13.6 50.0 40.9 9.1 22.7 27.3 22
Florida 8.0 28.0 24.0 40.0 52.0 20.0 28.0 25
Michigan 15.4 30.8 30.8 23.1 38.5 38.5 23.1 13
New Jersey 11.1 33.3 16.7 38.9 66.7 11.1 22.2 18
New York 21.4 57.1 21.4 57.1 14.3 28.6 14
Texas 11.1 33.3 22.2 33.3 27.8 11.1 61.1 18

Note: The count of offices shown in the last column indicates the number of offices with demographic information on partners and associates. 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: 2003-2004 NALP Directory of Legal Employers

Representation of Women and Attorneys of Color
among Law Firm Associates — 2003
(percent of offices in each range of representation)


WOMEN ASSOCIATES AS % OF TOTAL ASSOCIATES OF COLOR 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 20.6 22.3 27.2 29.9 20.6 19.6 26.5 33.1 1,353
By Firm Size:
100 or fewer 29.9 19.3 19.6 31.2 32.6 21.6 17.9 27.9 301
101-250 17.3 23.9 29.8 29.1 19.4 29.8 28.4 22.5 289
251-500 20.7 18.8 27.7 32.8 26.8 17.2 25.2 30.6 314
501+ 16.5 25.8 30.3 27.4 9.1 13.4 32.1 45.2 449
By City:
Atlanta 26.5 14.7 35.3 23.5 11.8 23.5 35.3 26.5 34
Austin 23.8 23.8 23.8 28.6 14.3 19.0 42.9 23.8 21
Baltimore 11.1 22.2 44.4 22.2 33.3 33.3 22.2 11.1 9
Birmingham 14.3 28.6 28.6 28.6 28.6 57.1 14.3 7
Boston 12.5 15.6 40.6 31.3 9.4 34.4 43.8 12.5 32
Charlotte 40.0 33.3 13.3 13.3 26.7 46.7 20.0 6.7 15
Chicago 19.3 24.6 33.3 22.8 14.0 22.8 42.1 21.1 57
Cincinnati 18.2 18.2 18.2 45.5 36.4 45.5 9.1 9.1 11
Cleveland 23.1 30.8 30.8 15.4 15.4 53.8 30.8 13
Columbus 35.7 35.7 21.4 7.1 28.6 28.6 28.6 14.3 14
Dallas 28.6 34.3 11.4 25.7 11.4 22.9 45.7 17.1 35
Denver 27.8 11.1 11.1 50.0 11.1 27.8 38.9 22.2 18
Detroit area 11.8 17.6 35.3 35.3 23.5 17.6 47.1 11.8 17
Hartford 7.1 28.6 50.0 14.3 35.7 50.0 14.3 14
Houston 37.5 21.9 28.1 12.5 9.4 6.3 31.3 53.1 32
Indianapolis 66.7 33.3 16.7 83.3 6
Kansas City area 9.1 18.2 45.5 27.3 18.2 72.7 9.1 11
Los Angeles 5.1 28.2 28.2 38.5 5.1 2.6 16.7 75.6 78
Miami 4.8 38.1 9.5 47.6 4.8 95.2 21
Milwaukee 33.3 33.3 22.2 11.1 22.2 44.4 33.3 9
Minneapolis/St. Paul 25.0 5.0 35.0 35.0 10.0 30.0 45.0 15.0 20
Nashville 33.3 22.2 22.2 22.2 22.2 66.7 11.1 9
New York City 16.2 24.6 36.2 23.1 13.8 10.8 23.8 51.5 130
Newark 16.7 8.3 41.7 33.3 16.7 58.3 25.0 12
Northern Virginia 60.0 10.0 5.0 25.0 25.0 20.0 20.0 35.0 20
Orange Co., CA 25.0 12.5 33.3 29.2 8.3 12.5 25.0 54.2 24
Philadelphia 8.7 26.1 34.8 30.4 21.7 47.8 30.4 23
Phoenix 13.3 26.7 53.3 6.7 20.0 40.0 26.7 13.3 15
Pittsburgh 6.7 46.7 26.7 20.0 33.3 66.7 15
Portland, OR 21.4 21.4 14.3 42.9 21.4 35.7 21.4 21.4 14
Raleigh/Durham 30.0 20.0 10.0 40.0 20.0 50.0 30.0 10
Richmond 22.2 66.7 11.1 33.3 44.4 22.2 9
San Diego 27.8 22.2 11.1 38.9 16.7 5.6 33.3 44.4 18
San Francisco 12.3 12.3 24.6 50.9 7.0 5.3 26.3 61.4 57
San Jose area 15.2 39.4 24.2 21.2 3.0 6.1 90.9 33
Seattle area 31.3 6.3 25.0 37.5 25.0 15.6 18.8 40.6 33
St. Louis 22.2 11.1 44.4 22.2 22.2 33.3 33.3 11.1 9
Tampa/St. Petersburg 15.4 30.8 38.5 15.4 23.1 15.4 46.2 15.4 13
Washington, D.C. 15.6 20.3 32.0 32.0 13.3 8.6 38.3 39.8 128
Wilmington 36.4 18.2 18.2 27.3 27.3 36.4 9.1 27.3 11
By State:
California 27.3 18.2 13.6 40.9 22.7 4.5 13.6 59.1 22
Florida 16.0 24.0 20.0 40.0 32.0 4.0 36.0 28.0 25
Michigan 23.1 30.8 46.2 46.2 23.1 23.1 7.7 13
New Jersey 11.1 22.2 50.0 16.7 11.1 38.9 27.8 22.2 18
New York 23.1 30.8 23.1 23.1 23.1 46.2 15.4 15.4 13
Texas 33.3 16.7 33.3 16.7 38.9 5.6 16.7 38.9 18

Note: The count of offices shown in the last column indicates the number of offices with demographic information on partners and associates. 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: 2003-2004 NALP Directory of Legal Employers

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