Women and Attorneys of Color Continue to Make Small Gains at Large Law Firms

11-17-2005

Recent research from NALP confirms that women and attorneys of color continue to make slow but steady progress in their representation in U.S. law firms. Data from 2005 reveals that attorneys of color account for 4.63% of the partners in the nation’s major law firms and that women account for 17.29% of the partners in these firms. This compares with 4.32% and 17.06%, respectively, in 2004. 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 1980s. 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 2005-2006 NALP Directory of Legal Employers, the annual compendium of legal employer data published by NALP. The 2005-2006 Directory consists primarily of large firm listings and includes attorney demographic information for about 126,000 partners, associates, staff attorneys, senior attorneys, and summer associates in over 1,400 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 44.12% of associate or staff/senior attorney positions, and attorneys of color hold 15.62% 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 best reflect law school enrollment, with women comprising 47.92% and minorities comprising 22.85% of summer 2005 associates. With an increase from 20.15% in 2004 to 22.85% in 2005, minority representation in summer programs slightly exceeded their representation among law students.

A parallel analysis of the 44 cities with the most attorneys represented in the Directory reveals considerable variations in these measures. Among the largest of these cities (those with more than 1,000 partners represented), 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 8.29% and 7.35% of partners in these cities respectively, and women account for 18.76% and 21.75% of partners, respectively.

Among smaller cities, this is true of Miami, where women account for 23.69% of partners; attorneys of color, many of whom are Hispanic, account for 26.02% of partners. Some cities rank high on specific measures. For example, cities with relatively high percentages of women partners include: Austin, Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, and Seattle — all of whom report at least 19% women partners. Austin, Orange County, 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 Denver, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, and Stamford/Greenwich. Conversely, some cities, such as Birmingham, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Nashville, Richmond, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, and Wilmington are below average on both measures, and considerably so with respect to associates of color. These findings reflect in part considerable contrasts in the population as a whole in these areas. For example, according to the 2000 Census, the population of Salt Lake County is about 81% white and non-Hispanic; the population of Milwaukee County is about 62% white and non-Hispanic. In contrast, the population of Los Angeles is just 32% white and non-Hispanic.

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 Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the San Jose area.

A similar analysis of eight 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. Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, and New York are also well below average with respect to minority representation among associates. Conversely, Californian and Michigan report the highest percentage of minority summer associates.

The 2005-2006 NALP Directory of Legal Employers, which provides the individual firm listings on which these aggregate analyses are based, is available online at www.nalpdirectory.com.

About NALP:
Founded in 1971 as the National Association for Law Placement®, 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. NALP maintains an online archive of press releases at www.nalp.org — click on “Research & Directories/Press Releases.”

Women and Attorneys of Color at Law Firms - 2005


PARTNERS

ASSOCIATES

SUMMER ASSOCIATES

# of Offices

Total #

% Women

% of Color

Total #

% Women

% of Color

Total #

% Women

% of Color

Nationwide

55,113

17.29

4.63

60,367

44.12

15.62

10,487

47.92

22.85

1,425

Firms of:











100 or fewer

7,879

16.46

4.63

5,628

41.70

11.57

829

45.24

12.79

304

101-250

13,797

16.96

3.55

11,642

43.57

12.19

1,770

46.38

19.55

278

251-500

14,053

17.99

4.11

13,828

44.34

14.07

2,209

49.71

21.64

357

501+

19,384

17.36

5.77

29,269

44.70

18.49

5,679

48.09

25.81

486

Offices in:











Atlanta

1,603

16.66

5.74

1,873

44.74

15.27

306

51.96

27.45

40

Austin

375

19.20

7.20

355

39.72

14.08

104

47.12

16.35

18

Baltimore

535

17.94

3.55

374

46.79

10.70

48

37.50

25.00

10

Birmingham

497

18.71

3.62

306

34.97

5.23

47

44.68

8.51

10

Boston area

1,792

18.36

3.07

2,167

46.56

10.98

339

48.97

18.58

36

Charlotte

532

11.47

3.01

503

36.98

7.75

94

44.68

14.89

18

Chicago

4,149

18.82

4.07

3,653

42.54

14.10

748

46.26

20.05

55

Cincinnati

524

16.41

2.48

411

43.80

6.08

81

43.21

25.93

12

Cleveland

705

16.60

3.12

723

46.20

7.88

80

60.00

15.00

14

Columbus

581

16.35

4.48

489

42.94

11.25

82

43.90

20.73

14

Dallas

1,437

18.02

3.62

1,694

39.67

10.86

442

49.77

17.42

38

Denver

676

22.34

4.88

553

49.37

11.39

76

46.05

23.68

24

Detroit area

850

19.18

3.76

538

44.05

10.41

67

52.24

29.85

14

Ft. Lauderdale/W. Palm Beach

163

18.40

4.91

140

47.14

10.00

12

50.00

8.33

11

Hartford

294

17.01

1.36

303

41.58

7.26

35

51.43

17.14

14

Houston

1,372

16.69

4.30

1,498

41.52

14.424

29

43.59

21.21

39

Indianapolis

568

16.55

1.94

413

45.76

8.23

52

48.08

23.08

9

Kansas City area

827

14.03

1.57

634

42.59

7.26

80

50.00

31.25

13

Los Angeles area

2,665

18.76

8.29

3,438

46.80

24.23

553

53.16

30.74

89

Miami

515

23.69

26.02

467

45.40

42.40

74

45.95

40.54

20

Milwaukee

704

16.34

1.70

452

42.48

6.19

105

51.43

14.29

9

Minneapolis/St. Paul

1,205

17.93

2.16

842

45.49

9.62

146

47.95

16.44

20

Nashville

354

15.82

2.26

264

41.29

9.85

62

53.23

6.45

10

New Orleans

356

22.75

4.49

226

53.98

11.06

57

57.89

12.28

8

New York City

6,371

14.83

4.54

13,329

44.07

19.36

2,440

47.38

26.48

132

Northern NJ/Newark area

919

14.47

1.52

1,228

42.75

13.68

121

51.24

26.45

23

Northern Virginia

364

12.36

5.49

373

32.98

13.94

52

44.23

9.62

21

Orange Co., CA

521

12.67

6.72

651

39.32

19.05

119

40.34

16.81

29

Philadelphia

1,098

17.49

2.37

1,295

45.17

9.42

170

50.00

20.00

18

Phoenix

657

16.74

3.65

500

41.00

12.80

101

38.61

9.90

15

Pittsburgh

641

15.76

1.72

616

41.40

7.31

80

50.00

21.25

13

Portland, OR area

530

17.92

2.08

338

42.01

9.47

51

41.18

15.69

16

Raleigh/Durham

201

17.91

1.49

210

46.67

7.62

30

46.67

16.67

10

Richmond

421

13.54

3.09

343

40.52

7.00

52

38.46

19.23

6

Salt Lake City

126

8.73

0.79

104

32.69

1.92

14

42.86

7.14

7

San Diego

509

18.66

6.29

637

43.80

17.74

91

46.15

21.98

20

San Francisco

1,701

21.75

7.35

2,067

50.22

23.56

342

54.39

33.63

59

San Jose area

780

18.21

11.03

1,407

42.22

28.64

286

40.91

34.62

36

Seattle area

963

19.00

5.82

696

47.99

14.37

109

46.79

26.61

32

St. Louis

676

15.98

2.66

520

43.85

8.65

77

46.75

12.99

10

Stamford/Greenwich

133

18.05

0.75

154

55.19

9.74

11

72.73

9.09

9

Tampa/St. Petersburg

403

15.14

4.47

277

38.99

10.83

42

42.86

23.81

13

Washington, DC

5,509

18.41

5.46

6,540

45.35

16.35

1,223

47.75

21.01

132

Wilmington

303

14.19

1.65

323

39.01

9.29

66

40.91

19.70

12

States:











Other areas in California

362

18.51

6.91

351

47.58

16.24

40

50.00

27.50

18

Other areas in Florida

460

17.61

8.04

251

47.01

18.33

37

56.76

13.51

14

Kentucky

529

17.20

1.13

331

44.71

7.85

49

46.94

8.16

9

Other areas in Michigan

349

14.04

2.29

163

40.49

6.75

16

37.50

25.00

15

Other areas in New Jersey

151

15.23

0.66

141

44.68

12.77

15

40.00

6.67

7

Nevada

159

17.61

2.52

178

34.27

9.55

32

43.75

3.13

14

Other areas in New York State

700

14.71

.57

522

41.38

6.13

45

44.44

2.22

13

Other areas in Texas

337

15.43

5.93

254

45.28

17.32

50

36.00

14.00

16

Source: The 2005-2006 NALP Directory of Legal Employers.
For law firms that repeated firmwide demographic information for each office listing, demographic information was retained for just one office to avoid double counting. The associates category includes senior and staff attorneys. Some city information includes one or more offices in adjacent suburbs. Orange County includes offices in Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Newport Beach. The San Jose area includes offices in Cupertino, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto and E. Palo Alto, Redwood Shores/Redwood City, San Jose, and Sunnyvale. The Detroit area includes offices in Bloomfield Hills, Bingham Farms, Southfield, and Troy. The Northern New Jersey/Newark area includes offices in Newark, Roseland, West Orange, Florham Park, Hackensack, Morristown, Parsippany, Short Hills, Westfield, Bridgewater, and Woodbridge. Northern Virginia includes offices in Falls Church, McLean, Reston, Vienna, and Alexandria. State figures exclude cities reported separately.


About NALP: Founded in 1971, the National Association for Law Placement, Inc.® (NALP) is dedicated to facilitating legal career counseling and planning, recruitment and retention, and the professional development of law students and lawyers. NALP maintains an online archive of press releases at www.nalp.org — click on Research & Statistics > Press Releases. For additional information about NALP research, contact Judith Collins (jcollins@nalp.org), Director of Research, or James G. Leipold (jleipold@nalp.org), Executive Director, at 202-835-1001. Mailing address: National Association for Law Placement, 1025 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 1110, Washington, DC 20036-5413.

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