Recent research from NALP reveals that attorneys of color account for 4.32% of the partners in the nation's major law firms and that women account for 17.06% of the partners in these firms. These numbers suggest that, relative to the attorney population as a whole, and relative to the demographic composition of law school enrollment, women attorneys and attorneys of color continue to be under-represented among partnership ranks at these firms. Thus, the presence of women comes nowhere near to matching their presence among law school graduates, which has ranged from 40% to almost half since the late 80's. Similarly, the percentage of minority graduates has doubled, from 10% to 20% during the same time period. Moreover, although the presence of women and attorneys of color at firms has increased each year since 1993, the first year for which NALP compiled this information, the total change since 1993 has only been marginal. At that time attorneys of color accounted for 2.55% of partners and women accounted for 12.27% of partners.
These are among the findings of NALP's recent analyses of the 2004-2005 NALP Directory of Legal Employers, the annual compendium of legal employer data published by NALP. The 2004-2005 Directory consists primarily of large firm listings and includes attorney demographic information for about 125,000 partners, associates, staff attorneys, senior attorneys, and summer associates in over 1,300 law offices nationwide.
The current information reveals that, nationally, women attorneys and attorneys of color are better represented in associate and summer associate ranks. Women attorneys hold 43.36% of associate or staff/senior attorney positions and attorneys of color hold 15.06% of these positions. Each group lags 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. Summer classes better reflect law school enrollment, with women comprising 47.74% and minorities comprising 20.15% of summer 2004 associates. It is worth noting that this year, for the first time since 1996, the presence of women in summer programs declined slightly. This tracks with a small decrease in the percentage of women enrolled at law schools nationwide in the year preceding the summer 2004 programs.
A parallel analysis of the 41 cities with the most attorneys represented in the Directory reveals 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 account for 8.24% and 7.04% of partners in these cities respectively, and women account for 18.62% and 21.31% of partners, respectively.
Among smaller cities, this is true of Miami, where women account for 20.03% of partners; attorneys of color, many of whom are Hispanic, account for 20.78% of partners. Some cities rank high on specific measures. For example, cities with relatively high percentages of women partners include: Denver, Ft. Lauderdale/W. Palm Beach, San Diego, and Seattle - all of whom report at least 19% women partners. Austin and San Jose have relatively high percentages of partners of color.
Offices in Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, and the San Jose area rank highest on representation of attorneys of color among associates, where representation is one in five or greater. Representation of women among associates is highest in Baltimore, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, and Seattle. Conversely, some cities, such as Birmingham, Charlotte, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Richmond, and Wilmington are below average on both measures, and considerably so with respect to associates of color.
Miami's higher representation of attorneys of color is also reflected in figures for summer associates; summer associates of color account for over one-third of those reported in the city. Other cities ranking relatively high on this measure include Denver, Portland, San Francisco, the San Jose area, and Seattle.
A similar analysis of 8 states with substantial Directory representation beyond that for specific cities also yields interesting findings. Representation of attorneys of color among partners is highest in California, Florida and Texas, and considerably below average in Kentucky, New Jersey, Michigan, Nevada, and New York. Michigan, Nevada, and New York are also well below average with respect to minority representation among associates. Conversely, Michigan, along with Kentucky, and Texas report the highest percentage of minority summer associates.
Women and Attorneys of Color at Law Firms — 2004
Note: For law firms that repeated firm-wide demographic information 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. Figures include a few offices in Canada, but exclude offices in Europe and Asia. The Kansas City area includes offices in Overland Park, KS. Orange County includes offices in Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Newport Beach. The San Jose area includes offices in Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, East 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 West Orange, and Roseland. State figures exclude cities reported separately.
|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.|