While women, minorities, and LGBT lawyers made gains in overall representation at major US law firms in 2018 compared with 2017, representation of black/AfricanAmericans among associates remains below pre-recession numbers. The findings come from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) 2018 report on Diversity in US law firms.
Also noteworthy is that the presence of women among associates has finally returned to its pre-recession level. In additional Significant Findings, there is an increase of about seven-tenths of a percentage point in the representation of minorities among partners is noted as the largest increase over the entire span of NALP’s compilation of these figures. Minority women continue to be the most dramatically underrepresented group at the partnership level. The number and percentage of LGBT lawyers reached new heights and the percentage of LGBT summer associates at firms of more than 700 hundred lawyers reached a new high of 6.42%. The reporting of lawyers with disabilities (of any race or gender) remains scant. Despite small increases in the past three years, the representation of Black/African-American associates remains shy of its pre-recession level, and representation of black/AfricanAmerican partners has barely changed since 2009.
Good & bad news
NALP executive director James Leipold commenting on these new findings noted, ‘the story of NALP’s 2018 Report on Diversity in US Law Firms is a good news/bad news story. On the good news side, representation of women associates has finally rebounded and surpassed pre-recession highs for the first time, the jump in the representation of minorities among partners is the largest since NALP began tracking this data, and the number and percentage of LGBT lawyers reached all-time highs with the percentage of LGBT summer associates at firms of more than 700 hundred lawyers reaching 6.42%. On the bad news side, representation of black/African-American associates remains below its pre-recession level, the representation of Black/African-American partners has barely budged since the recession, and minority women continue to be the most underrepresented group at the partnership level, with Black/African-American women least well represented of all.’ The full report can be found here.