Law Firms

Percentage of women and minorities at law firms increased slightly in 2017, NALP report says

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Nearly 35 percent of lawyers at major U.S. law firms are women, while about 15 percent are minorities, according to statistics released Friday by the National Association for Law Placement.

The percentages represent small gains over last year’s figures, according to a press release (PDF) and the report (PDF). However, the percentages are still below pre-recession levels. The numbers come from NALP’s Directory of Legal Employers, which lists primarily large law firms.

In 2017, women made up 22.7 percent of partners, 45.48 percent of associates and 34.54 percent of total lawyers. In 2009, after the downturn, the figures were 19.21 percent, 45.66 percent and 32.97 percent, respectively.

In 2017, minorities made up 8.42 percent of partners, 23.32 percent of associates and 15.18 percent of total lawyers. In 2009, the figures were 6.05 percent, 19.67 percent and 12.59 percent, respectively.

The percentage of lawyers with disabilities at law firms is less than 1 percent, while the percentage of openly LGBT lawyers is 2.64 percent.

“Women and minorities are better represented among the partnership and associate ranks than they were in 2016, though only incrementally so,” NALP Executive Director James Leipold said in the release. “Nevertheless, at the associate level, women and African-Americans remain less well-represented than they were before the recession, a finding that is both discouraging and significant.”

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