BigLaw firm criticized for lack of diversity is now No. 1 for black lawyers, new report says

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Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison took a hit on social media in December when a partnership promotion photo appeared to show just one woman and 11 white men.

The law firm later said the partnership class actually included one woman, one Latino and one LGBTQ partner, making it 25% diverse. Now, the firm is finding further vindication in a recent report released by the nonprofit group Lawyers of Color.

The nonprofit ranked about 400 law firms by percentage of black lawyers. Lawyers of Color asked firms to provide the numbers. About 75 did so. The nonprofit relied on other sources for numbers, including the National Association for Law Placement and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.

The top five large law firms for their percentages of black lawyers are:

• Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (8.27%)

• Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (8.11%)

• Constangy Brooks, Smith & Prophete (7.97%)

• Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons (7.86%)

• Hogan Lovells (7.47%)

The top five were among nearly 40 law firms with black attorney percentages of more than 5%. On the flip side, more than 40 firms with 20 to 134 attorneys had no black lawyers.

At the roughly 400 law firms studied, black attorneys made up only 3.2% of the lawyers. Lawyers of Color is calling on law firms to pledge to increase their percentage of black lawyers above that average.

According to 2018 figures by the NALP, there were fewer black attorneys at law firms than Latino and Asian attorneys.

Black lawyers made up 1.83% of partners in law firms, compared to 2.49% for Latino lawyers and 3.63% for Asian lawyers. Black lawyers made up 4.48% of associates, compared to 4.71% for Latino lawyers and 11.69% for Asian lawyers. (The information is in Tables 2, 5 and 6 of this report.)

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “African-American lawyers don’t share in BigLaw’s diversity gains”

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