About 25% of Law Firms Are to Blame for High Minority Attrition Numbers, Study Says

Recent NALP statistics showed a slight decline this year in law firm diversity, but a new study suggests that some firms are more to blame than others.

According to Building a Better Legal Profession, much of the decline can be attributed to about a quarter of firms that lost more minorities in percentage terms than whites, the National Law Journal reports. The student group is based at Stanford Law School and supports law firm diversity.

The NLJ spoke to Stanford law professor Michele Dauber about the study. “It’s true that minorities did poorly industry-wide, but it looks to me like there are some bad actors in every market that dragged things down,” she said. “There are many, many firms that clearly worked to protect their minority associates. The amount of variation between firms surprised me.”

The study found attrition rates among minorities and women in California were generally lower than for many locations in the East Coast and in Southern states. Other findings include:

• In New York, Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz had higher minority than white attrition. (Wachtell disputed the numbers.)

• Some firms had numbers that varied by office. DLA Piper, for example, had higher minority than white attrition in its Washington, D.C., office, but higher white than minority attrition in New York.

Above the Law also covered the findings.

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