Are Law Firms Failing at Diversity?
While diversity is something that all industries should be striving to achieve to ensure equality in the workforce, this is especially important in the legal industry. Due the sensitive nature of the work, it’s essential that the people being served by the sector are represented by those involved in their case, from the lawyers representing them in court to the judge deciding their legal fate.
At the associate level, white lawyers constitute 70% to 92% of associates, depending on firm size and year, according to the survey report. White lawyers constitute 84% to 93% of equity partners and 84% to 90% of nonequity partners..
More minorities are getting hired as associates, but law firm leadership is mostly white abecause of a diversity “bottleneck” and higher rates of minority attrition, according to an ABA survey report released Tuesday.
1. Approximately 70% of law firm leadership consisted of white men; 20% consisted of white women, 7% of minority men and 3% of minority women.
2. White male lawyers represent 80% of the top 10% of highest compensated attorneys in law firms. White female lawyers represent 13% of that group.
3. Law firms were asked whether they had 19 different policies related to diversity, equity and inclusion. A majority reported having each policy. But the survey found no correlation between having a policy and other measures, such as hiring, attrition and leadership. “This might suggest that merely having a policy in place does not, by itself, result in actions that reduce inequity in outcomes,” the survey report said.
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