Back in November, before this blog started up, the National Association of Law Placement published some analyses of its 2007-08 NALP Directory of Legal Employers, an annual compendium of legal employer data. You may have already seen these results, and I apologize for the redundancy if so, but they only belatedly caught my eye in NALP’s February 2008 Bulletin, and I felt compelled to mention this finding:
In a survey of 61,297 partners in 1,562 U.S. law firms of all sizes (from 50 or fewer lawyers to more than 700), the total percentage who were white was 94.6%.
Let’s look at that slightly differently, to help it sink in: the total percentage of all minority lawyers was 5.4%. For minority women, the number shrinks to 1.65%. That is to say, there were 1,011 female minority partners in this survey, or about two-thirds of one lawyer per firm. If you lined up 100 typical partners at U.S. law firms, the first 94 would be white (and the first 81 of that group would be male). The last five would be members of visible minorities; only the final, 100th lawyer would be a female member of a minority group.
I mean, come on.
At least the profession is starting to talk about this, though I’m not betting heavily on an imminent change. I don’t have anything else pithy to add. I just thought you might want to sit and think a little about that 100th partner.