Race/Ethnicity and the Geographic Distribution of Law Firm Jobs Taken by New Graduates - Class of 2007

NALP Bulletin, October 2008

Of law firm jobs taken by the Class of 2007, just over half (51%), were taken in the 20 cities providing the most jobs to that class (Table 1). However, as Table 1 also shows, racial/ethnic minorities as a whole were more likely to take a law firm job in one of these cities than were non-minorities (58% versus 46%). Looking at specific racial/ethnic groups, Asian/Pacific Islander graduates are most concentrated in these cities (62% of law firm jobs). In contrast, most law firm jobs taken by Native American graduates are located outside of the 20 cities.

At the same time, as Table 2 shows, the proportion of jobs taken by minorities in each of the 20 cities ranged from a high of almost half in Miami to less than 17% in Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. In some cities, one specific group dominates minority graduates. In Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle it is Asian/Pacific Islanders; in Miami it is Hispanics; and in Atlanta, Baltimore, and Indianapolis it is Black/African-American graduates. In Philadelphia, Asian/Pacific Islanders and Black/African Americans are equally prevalent. In a few cities — Chicago, Dallas, and Houston — the mix between these three groups is relatively even.

Table 1. Geographic Distribution of Law Firm Jobs Taken by the Class of 2007

Law Firm Jobs Taken by: % in 20 Largest Cities % in Other Locations # of Jobs
All graduates 51.2% 48.8% 20,274
Non-minorities 45.6 54.4 14,768
All minorities 58.4 41.6 3,993
Native Americans 30.1 69.9 93
Asian/Pacific Islanders 62.0 38.0 1,638
Black/African-Americans 57.1 42.9 1,070
Hispanics 57.7 42.3 994
Multi-racial 52.0 48.0 198

Note: All counts exclude law firm jobs for which location was not reported. All counts, except the overall count, exclude jobs taken by graduates for whom race/ethnicity was not reported. The Asian/Pacific Islander category includes East Indian/Pakistani graduates.

Table 2. Distribution of Law Firm Jobs by Race/Ethnicity in 20 Cities — Class of 2007

City Native American Asian/Pacific Islander Black/African-American Hispanic Multi-racial Caucasian # of Jobs
Atlanta 0.0% 5.10% 15.96% 2.88% 0.0% 76.05% 451
Baltimore 1.20 3.61 10.84 4.82 0.0 79.52 83
Boston 0.0 10.63 4.83 2.66 0.97 80.92 414
Chicago 0.20 7.16 6.16 5.05 0.91 80.52 991
Cleveland 0.0 5.10 4.46 1.91 0.0 88.54 157
Columbus 0.0 3.60 6.31 4.50 1.80 83.78 111
Dallas 0.33 5.02 7.02 7.69 2.68 77.26 299
Houston 0.71 8.25 7.08 6.37 1.42 76.18 424
Indianapolis 0.0 2.70 9.01 2.70 0.90 84.68 111
Las Vegas 1.40 12.59 3.50 6.99 1.40 74.13 143
Los Angeles 0.59 20.94 6.44 9.66 1.02 61.35 683
Miami 0.0 3.00 7.30 32.62 0.86 56.22 233
Minneapolis/St. Paul 0.0 7.14 4.46 2.68 0.89 84.82 224
New York City 0.38 14.07 6.30 5.59 1.42 72.25 2,396
Philadelphia 0.0 7.67 6.71 2.88 0.32 82.43 313
Phoenix 2.17 4.35 2.90 13.04 1.45 76.09 138
San Diego 0.0 10.07 3.02 7.72 0.34 78.86 298
San Francisco 0.24 20.76 4.06 8.11 1.43 65.39 419
Seattle 0.51 14.72 2.03 5.08 0.51 77.16 197
Washington, DC 0.10 11.50 9.36 4.98 1.53 72.53 983

Note: Law firm jobs taken by graduates for whom race/ethnicity was not reported are excluded from this table. The Asian/Pacific Islander category includes East Indian/Pakistani graduates.

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