Law Firms

African-American lawyers don't share in BigLaw's diversity gains

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Large law firms made small gains in diversity in 2016 but African-American lawyers were not among those who benefited.

Minorities accounted for 15.6 percent of the lawyers working at the nation’s top 250 law firms last year, up from 15 percent in 2015, (sub. req.) reports. The percentage of minority partners, meanwhile, increased 0.4 percentage points, reaching 8.6 percent, according to statistics compiled by the American Lawyer (sub. req.).

Despite those gains, the percentage of African-Americans did not change. They made up 3 percent of all BigLaw lawyers and 1.9 percent of partners.

The percentage of Asian-American lawyers was 6.9 percent, up from 6.7 percent, and the percentage of Asian-American partners was 3.3 percent, up from 3 percent.

The percentage of Hispanic lawyers was 3.7 percent, up from 3.5 percent, and the percentage of Hispanic partners increased by a similar amount, reaching 2.6 percent.

The American Lawyer used the statistics to create a diversity scorecard (sub. req.), which ranks firms based on their percentage of minority lawyers overall and their percentage of minority partners.

Topping the list is White & Case, where 33.4 percent of its U.S. lawyers and 20.6 percent of its U.S. partners are minorities. The top five are:

1) White & Case

2) Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy

3) Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

4) Fenwick & West

5) Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle

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