New data from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and Vault.com provide a grim picture of law firm diversity efforts in a difficult economy.

For the first time in seven years, the percentage of minority equity partners remained virtually flat, nudging up from 6.05 percent in 2008 to 6.06 percent in 2009 at the 263 law firms surveyed, according to a report released this week. That finding helped to corroborate fears that diversity efforts have taken a backseat to economic concerns.

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