By Jacqueline Bell | August 17, 2021, 3:02 PM EDT

After years of professing an unwavering dedication to promoting diversity in the legal industry, law firms have made only modest progress, particularly in their equity partnerships. But a handful of law firms are taking demonstrable steps to turn long-standing goals into realities.

At law firms that participated in Law360’s most recent survey, the proportion of minority associates was close to 27%. But after years of professed effort to improve diversity at all levels of a typical law firm, the percentage of minority equity partners remains under 10%.

At law schools, the proportion of minority students has long been much higher. At least 20% of law students for the past 30 years have been people of color.

In 2020, more than 30% of law school graduates identified as members of a racial or ethnic minority. Yet overall the ranks of equity partners have remained overwhelmingly white.

Still, the firms on this list are proving that law firms can work towards building a partnership that is more diverse.

Morrison & Foerster LLP tops the list of the biggest law firms with the most diverse equity partners, reporting that more than 19% of their equity ranks are attorneys of color. Morrison & Foerster swapped places from last year with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC. Wilson Sonsini came in a close second this year with more than 18% of their equity partners identifying as attorneys of color.

Among firms with between 251 and 600 attorneys, immigration boutique Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP again is dramatically outpacing its peers, with more than 29% equity partners of color.

Here are the firms outpacing their peers as the legal industry works towards increasing minority representation in its top ranks.

equity partnership diversity

–Graphic by Jonathan Hayter and Chris Yates.

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