A new report on law firm diversity statistics shows continued improvement among US law firms
The survey from The National Association for Law Placement indicates that there are more women, people of color and LGBTQ associates at law firms than ever before, increasing from over 36 per cent to over 41 per cent – the largest gain since the NALP began its diversity tracking 29 years ago.
Women were also increasing their lead over men as summer associates, for the fourth year in a row, comprising 55 per cent of summer associates, while LGBTQ summer associates increased by 0.7 points to 8.4 per cent.
“Without doubt, this summer associate class was the most diverse ever measured in every way, and it holds the promise of a law firm world that is truly more diverse, equitable, and inclusive,” NALP Executive Director James Leipold said.
“The challenge for the industry is to retain, train, develop, and promote this talented and diverse pool of new lawyers so that 5 years from now the associate ranks as a whole reflect similar diversity and representation, and 10 or 15 years from now we can celebrate a partnership class that is similarly diverse.”
Black Lawyers Underrepresented
Despite the overall encouraging trend towards greater diversity, black lawyers remain underrepresented compared to others, including Asian lawyers and Hispanic lawyers.
And despite the increase in female summer associates the number of female partners remains at just under 26 per cent of all partners, a trend that is exacerbated further with the statistics for Black and Hispanic women lawyers.
The latter group make up fewer than 1 per cent of all law partners across US law firms.
“The 2021 law firm diversity numbers are a cause for celebration, but also a reminder of the hard work that remains to be done,” Leipold said.
The law firm diversity statistics remain an issue for the profession, even though the trends are pointing in the right direction.