Racial diversity flatlines at top US firms

The rut persists despite minorities making up more than 20% of law students for nearly two decades

Racial diversity flatlines at top US firms
The biggest law firms in the US are failing in diversifying their workforce, Law360’s “2017 Law Firm Diversity Snapshot” report reveals.

Minority lawyer representation grew less than a percentage point from the publication’s preceding survey, it said. The abysmal growth persists despite minorities making up more than 20% of law students for nearly two decades, according data from the American Bar Association.

In the last enrolment period, diversity in law schools in the US topped 30%, yet among surveyed law firms, only 15.3% of attorneys and 8.8% of partners identified as coming from a minority background.

The survey involved more than 300 law firms, which includes 87% of the top 100 firms in the US and 80% of the top 200 firms in the US by lawyer headcount.

Among equity partners, only 7.9% identified as minorities, a slight increase from 7.6% in last year’s survey.

Among firms with more than 600 lawyers, the top five firms for diversity are:
  1. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati: 20.3%
  2. White & Case: 18.8%
  3. Morrison & Foerster: 14.9%
  4. Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith: 14%
  5. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison: 14%
Among firms with 300 to 599 lawyers, the top five are:
  1. Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy: 25%
  2. Best Best & Krieger: 20%
  3. Hanson Bridgett: 19.4%
  4. Sedgwick: 18.4%
  5. Munger, Tolles & Olson: 17.1%

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