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Asians account for ‘lion’s share’ of increase in minority associates at law firms

Posted Jan 30, 2014 9:34 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The percentage of minority associates in law firms has increased slightly over the last three years, but those numbers don’t tell the whole story.

The “lion’s share” of the increase is due to increasing numbers of Asian associates, according to this article in the NALP Bulletin, published by the National Association for Law Placement. Meanwhile, representation of blacks among associates has declined for four years in a row, according to the NALP data from more than 1,000 law firms.

About 21 percent of associates in 2013 were minorities, a slight increase from 19.53 percent in 2010. About half of those minority associates last year were Asians.

Among all associates last year, 10.48 percent were Asian, up from 9.39 percent in in 2010. Last year 4.10 percent of all associates were black, down from a high of 4.66 percent in 2009. And 3.82 percent of all associates last year were Hispanic, a slight drop from 3.89 percent in 2009. (The other minority categories are Native American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and multiracial; NALP does not include separate figures because the groups are few in number.)

About 7 percent of partners are minorities. Among all partners, 2.67 percent are Asian, 1.78 percent are black, and 1.99 percent are Hispanic.

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