By Gerald Schifman
Attorneys of color now represent 27% of nonpartners, according to Law360's latest survey data. That's a high-water mark for the industry and the product of significant work to diversify firms' attorney ranks. There's far less improvement at the partner level, where just 12.7% of attorneys identify as a person of color.
As long as Law360 has been surveying law firms, it's been apparent that they struggle to maintain diversity at upper levels of the attorney hierarchy. The Diversity Snapshot ranking accounts for this issue by assessing whether firms are hiring, promoting and retaining attorneys in line with the pipeline of available talent. Helpful as it is to assess these efforts in a single unified score, law firms' demographic data can be compared with greater nuance.
To that end, the graphic below shows firms' percentage of partners and associates across each minority racial and ethnic group, as defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Firms are grouped by size, allowing readers to see where some firms are breaking away from the pack — or lagging behind their peers. This edition includes breakdowns for the 283 firms that qualified for the main ranking.
With each feature in the Diversity Snapshot package, Law360 aims to advance the conversation about the diversification of the legal industry. In the coming year, Law360 will continue to seek out novel ways to assess these efforts in a data-driven manner. We welcome reader feedback as we work on future editions of this report.
--Editing by Pamela Wilkinson, John Campbell and Xavier Chauvris. Graphic by Jonathan Hayter.