Race/Ethnicity & Gender

Read NALP's annual Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms here


Articles & Research

Native American and Alaska Native Law Students and Lawyers (NALP Bulletin+, December 2023) — This article looks at Native American and Alaska Native Law Students and Lawyers to determine the latest trends in this cohort and how they compare with other law school graduates.

Changes in the Racial/Ethnic Representation of Summer Associates Since the Great Recession (NALP Bulletin+, May 2022) — In 2021, the representation of summer associates of color increased by nearly 5 percentage points over the previous year to 41.34% and the percentage of women summer associates of color grew by 3 percentage points to 25.14%. But when these data are further disaggregated by race/ethnicity, was the progress made in 2021 evenly distributed? And how does that compare to longer-term trends?

Representation of Women and People of Color in U.S. Law Firms in 2020 (June 2021 Bulletin+) — NALP's 2020 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms shows that overall, women and people of color continued to make incremental progress in representation at major U.S. law firms in 2020. Despite these gains, both women and partners of color remain substantially underrepresented in the partnership ranks.

Racial/Ethnic Representation of Class of 2019 Judicial Clerks (NALP Bulletin, February 2021) — Despite modest improvements over time, graduates of color have historically been underrepresented in clerkships. The latest data for the Class of 2019 reveal that these disparities continue to persist for new law graduates, according to NALP's Jobs & JDs: Employment and Salaries of New Graduates, Class of 2019.

Have Disparities in Employment Outcomes by Race/Ethnicity Changed Over Time? (NALP Bulletin, January 2021) — In examining trends by race/ethnicity in the percentage of graduates employed in bar passage required jobs, progress has been more muddled.

NALP Research on Non-Binary Law School Graduates (NALP Bulletin, December 2020) — Jobs & JDs: Employment and Salaries of New Graduates — Class of 2019, features an expanded demographics section this year, including the first in-depth analysis of employment and salary outcomes for non-binary law school graduates. This article explores these outcomes in more detail.

Representation of Women and Minority Equity Partners Among Partners Little Changed in Recent Years (NALP Bulletin, April 2019) — Equity partners in multi-tier law firms continue to be disproportionately white men. New figures from NALP show that in 2018, just one in five equity partners were women (19.6%) and only 6.6% were racial/ethnic minorities.

NALP 2018 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms (January 2019)

Women and Minorities at Law Firms - Additional Findings for 2017 (NALP Bulletin, May 2018) — When it comes to law firm diversity, reporting national averages can mask what are in fact huge variations in representation between individual firms as well as between firms of different sizes.

Representation of Women and Minorities Among Equity Partners Slowly Increasing (NALP Bulletin, April 2018) — Equity partners in multi-tier law firms continue to be disproportionately white men. New figures from NALP show that in 2017, only 18.7% of equity partners were women and only 6.1% were racial/ethnic minorities.

Women and Minorities at Law Firms — What Has Changed and What Has Not in the Past 25 Years (NALP Bulletin, February 2018) — NALP's reporting on the presence of women and minorities in large firms now spans 25 years. Findings have been reported out year by year over that time period, but summary findings are presented here all together for the first time.

Representation of Women and African-Americans Among Law Firm Associates Increases Slightly but Remains Below Pre-recession Levels (December 15, 2017 Press Release)

NALP 2017 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms (December 2017)

Representation of Women and Minorities Among Equity Partners Has Increased Only Slightly (NALP Bulletin, April 2017) — Equity partners in multi-tier law firms continue to be disproportionately white men. New figures from NALP show that in 2016, only 18.1% of equity partners were women and only 5.8% were racial/ethnic minorities.

Women and Black/African-American Associates Still Below Pre-Recession Numbers Despite Small Gains in 2016 Overall (January 4, 2017 Press Release)

NALP 2016 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms (January 2017)

Race/Ethnicity and the Geographic Distribution of Law Firm Jobs Taken by New Graduates — Class of 2015 (NALP Bulletin, November 2016) — Among law school graduates taking jobs in private practice, minorities are more likely than their non-minority peers to take that job in one of the 21 largest law firm employment markets for new graduates.

2016 Diversity Infographics:

2015-2016 NALP Infographic: Minorities — Downloadable PDF (June 2016)
2015-2016 NALP Infographic: Women — Downloadable PDF (June 2016)

Women and Minorities Maintain Representation Among Equity Partners, Broad Disparities Remain (NALP Bulletin, March 2016) — Equity partners in multi-tier law firms continue to be disproportionately white men. New figures from NALP show that in 2015, only 17.4% of equity partners were women and only 5.6% were racial/ethnic minorities.

Women and Minorities at Law Firms by Race and Ethnicity - New Findings for 2015 (NALP Bulletin, January 2016) — In a November 19, 2015 press release, NALP reported that women and minority partners continued to make small gains in their representation among law firm partners as a whole in 2015, and that the percentage of minority associates has inched up every year since 2011, after falling in 2010 in the wake of the recession. However, the percentage of women associates has decreased in all but one of the last six years and now is almost one full percentage point lower than in 2009.

Women, Black/African-American Associates Lose Ground at Major U.S. Law Firms (November 19, 2015 Press Release) — Women and Black/African-Americans show declines in representation at major U.S. law firms, according to the latest law firm demographic findings from NALP. Although women and minorities continue to make small gains in their representation among law firm partners in 2015, the overall percentage of women associates has decreased over the majority of the last five years, and the percentage of African-American associates has declined each year since 2009.

Despite Small Gains in the Representation of Women and Minorities Among Equity Partners, Broad Disparities Remain (NALP Bulletin, June 2015) — Equity partners in multi-tier law firms continue to be disproportionately white men. New figures from NALP show that in 2014, only 17.1% of equity partners were women and only 5.6% were racial/ethnic minorities.

Women and Minorities at Law Firms by Race and Ethnicity - An Update (NALP Bulletin, May 2015) — In a February 17, 2015 press release, NALP reported that women and minority partners continued to make small gains in their representation among law firm partners as a whole in 2014, and that the percentage of minority associates has rebounded for the fourth year in a row after falling in the wake of the recession. Although the percentage of women associates increased a bit after eroding from 2010 to 2013, it has yet to go above the 45% mark reached in 2009-2012. Aggregate statistics about the representation of women and minority attorneys at law firms do not tell the whole story, however.

Diversity Numbers at Law Firms Eke Out Small Gains - Numbers for Women Associates Edge Up After Four Years of Decline (February 17, 2015 Press Release) — According to the latest law firm demographic findings from NALP, women and minority partners continued to make small gains in their representation among law firm partners as a whole in 2014, and the percentage of minority associates has gone up for the fourth year in a row after falling in 2010 in the wake of the recession. Although the percentage of women associates increased a bit after eroding from 2010 to 2013, it has yet to go above the 45% mark reached in 2009-2012.

Increasing Diversity of Law School Graduates Not Reflected Among Judicial Clerks (NALP Bulletin, September 2014) — Even as the percentage of minority graduates overall has increased from about 14% in 1993 to over 25% in 2013, minority representation among judicial clerks has not shown similar growth.

Perspectives on Diversity (NALP Bulletin, June 2014) — Recent NALP research has shown that, while overall representation of minorities among associates at large firms has more than recovered since sliding in 2010, the representation of African-Americans/Blacks specifically has in contrast declined every year since 2010.

The Representation of Women and Minorities Among Equity Partners Sees Slow Growth, Broad Disparities Remain (NALP Bulletin, March 2014) — Equity partners in multi-tier law firms continue to be disproportionately white men. A new analysis of recent data by NALP shows that in 2013, only 16.5% of equity partners are women and only 5.4% are minority.

Women and Minorities at Law Firms by Race and Ethnicity — An Update (NALP Bulletin, February 2014) — In a December 11, 2013 press release, NALP reported that women and minority partners continued to make small gains in their representation among law firm partners as a whole in 2013, and that the percentage of minority associates has rebounded for the third year in a row after falling in the wake of the recession. However, the percentage of women associates has eroded every year since 2010.

Representation of Women Associates Falls for Fourth Straight Year as Minority Associates Continue to Make Gains — Women and Minority Partners Continue to Make Small Gains (December 11, 2013 Press Release) — According to the latest law firm demographic findings from NALP, women and minority partners continued to make small gains in their representation among law firm partners as a whole in 2013, and the percentage of minority associates has rebounded for the third year in a row after falling in the wake of the recession. However, the percentage of women associates has eroded every year since 2010. The net result is very small net gains in the representation of women and minority lawyers overall.

Race/Ethnicity and the Geographic Distribution of Law Firm Jobs Taken by the Class of 2012 (NALP Bulletin, September 2013) — Among law school graduates taking jobs in private practice, minorities are more likely than their non-minority peers to take that job in one of the 20 largest employment markets for new graduates.

Women and Minorities at Law Firms by Race and Ethnicity — An Update (NALP Bulletin, April 2013) — While the representation of minorities continued to inch up, the overall representation of women increased by only a very small amount, and, among associates specifically, representation of women declined a bit again for the third year in a row. Aggregate statistics about the representation of women and minority lawyers at law firms do not tell the whole story, however.

The Demographics of Equity - An Update (NALP Bulletin, February 2013) — Are equity partners in multi-tier law firms disproportionately white men? The answer is decidedly yes — and new data are helping us to describe the unequal representation of men and women and minority and non-minority law firm partners in these firms with additional precision.

Women and Minorities in Law Firms — By Race and Ethnicity (NALP Bulletin, January 2012) — In a November 3, 2011, press release, NALP reported that by 2011 law firms had made up for some, but not all, of the decreases in diversity figures occurring between 2009 and 2010. While the representation of minorities as a whole among associates increased in 2011 after sliding in 2010, representation of women among associates declined a bit again for the second year in a row. Aggregate statistics about the representation of women and minority lawyers at law firms do not tell the whole story, however.

The Demographics of Equity (NALP Bulletin, November 2011) — For the first time, in 2011 NALP included reporting of equity and non-equity partner information in the NALP Directory of Legal Employers. Many firms with multi-tier partnership structures reported on the demographics of their equity and non-equity partners, and, as a result, we are now able to say something about the disparities that do or do not exist.

A Closer Look at NALP Findings on Women and Minorities in Law Firms by Race and Ethnicity (NALP Bulletin, January 2011) — The recent drop in the representation of women and minorities was quite small and occurred only among associates, not partners, but the decrease is still of significance because it represents the reversal of what had been, up until 2010, a constant upward trend. Aggregate statistics about the representation of women and minority lawyers at law firms do not tell the whole story, however.

A Demographic Profile of Judicial Clerks — Patterns of Disproportionality (NALP Bulletin, November 2010) — That is to say, judicial clerkships have always been obtained disproportionately when measured by race and gender, though the patterns have not necessarily been obvious. Over the last ten years the overall number of judicial clerkships obtained by law school graduates has decreased significantly, and over this same time, the proportional demographic representation of those obtaining clerkships has shifted.

Why Is Nobody Talking About Gender Diversity in Public Interest Law? (PDF, NALP Bulletin, June 2010) — The fact that women outnumber men at least two to one in these fields — which are some of the lowest-earning fields in the legal profession — must spark an important discussion of how these jobs are valued and of both why women are disproportionately drawn to them as well as why men avoid them.

Women and Minorities in Law Firms by Race and Ethnicity (NALP Bulletin, January 2010) — Among all employers listed in the 2009-2010 NALP Directory of Legal Employers just over 6% of partners were minorities and 1.88% of partners were minority women, and yet many offices report no minority partners at all. In addition, the representation of minorities by specific race and ethnicity varies considerably by size of law firm and geography.























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