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Last year, when we were planning the fall issue of Minority Law Journal, we decided to profile the most diverse firm in the country. But which firm was that? It’s a hard question to answer because, as we discovered, there’s no comprehensive source of minority statistics for the profession. Our colleagues at The National Law Journal, however, conduct an annual survey of the 250 largest firms in the country. Every two years the NLJasks firms to provide detailed demographic information about their attorneys, including an ethnic breakdown. The NLJhas previously used this data only to generate aggregate statistics about the firms as a group. But they created a chart for our use that ranked firms by percentage of minority lawyers. Using that chart, we identified Miami’s Steel Hector & Davis as the most diverse firm in the country, and featured it in our fall 2000 issue. Naming the top firm, of course, is not enough, so now we’re presenting a full report on the NLJ’s 250 — our first Diversity Scorecard. We’re not the only ones to publish minority data on individual firms. The National Directory of Legal Employers, produced annually by the National Association for Legal Placement, includes information submitted by approximately 675 law firms and 85 government and public sector employers. The NALP asks firms to provide an ethnic breakdown of their attorneys. Those that do usually submit diversity statistics on an office-by-office basis, not for the whole firm. While our survey covers a smaller pool, we’re presenting all minority data on a firm-by-firm basis, making it more accessible than ever before. Want to know how diverse a particular big firm is? Look it up. Want to know which firm has the most minority partners? The most minority associates? The most Asians, blacks, Hispanics, or Native Americans? Again, you can look it up. This is the first time a comprehensive review of minority hiring at the country’s premier firms has ever been done. Some caveats: Data was reported by the firms themselves. Our chart lists only 214 firms, because 36 did not report data on minority attorneys. And the numbers were provided as of Sept. 30, 2000. Therefore, several firms that have since merged — Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, Pillsbury Winthrop, and Frost Brown Todd — are listed under their predecessors. A DIVERSITY OF DIVERSITIES We’ve produced one master chart that lists all 214 responding firms alphabetically and gives a multitude of information about each: the percentage of attorneys who belong to an ethnic minority (for both 2000 and 1998); the total number of minority attorneys; and the number of Asian, black, Hispanic, and Native American partners and associates. (All partner numbers include those of both equity and nonequity status. All associate statistics also include other full-time attorneys: of counsel, senior counsel, and staff attorneys.) We’ve also assigned each firm a diversity rank based on their minority percentage. Some interesting stories are hidden in the numbers, as with the third and 24th most diverse firms, for example. Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle has a very high proportion of minority attorneys: 21.6 percent. But since it’s a relatively small firm, this translates into 35 actual lawyers. At Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, a lower proportion of attorneys are minorities — 15.3 percent — but are drawn from a much larger population. In actual numbers, Skadden has 239 lawyers of color — more than any other firm on our list. So while our main definition of diversity depends on a firm’s percentage of minority attorneys, a good argument can be made for the diversity of firms with a high number of minorities. Here’s a quick list of the top firms in each category: � Highest number of minority attorneys: Steel Hector & Davis � Highest number of minority partners: Holland & Knight � Highest number of minority associates: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom � Highest percentage and number of Asian attorneys: Morrison & Foerster � Highest percentage of black attorneys: Troutman Sanders � Highest number of black attorneys: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom � Highest percentage of Hispanic attorneys: Steel Hector & Davis � Highest number of Hispanic attorneys: Greenberg Traurig � Highest percentage and number of Native American attorneys: Dorsey & Whitney Looking over all the information, one thing becomes obvious: There’s very little overlap. Only a handful of firms are strong in more than one category. For example, only 11 of the top 25 firms ranked by minority percentage would appear on a chart (not shown) listing the top firms ranked by actual number of minority attorneys. Equally striking, there’s little overlap between the firms with the most partners and the most associates: Only two names show up on both lists, Morrison & Foerster and White & Case. And in our ranking of firms for individual ethnic groups, only one firm shows up more than once: Skadden, Arps, which has the fifth-highest number of Hispanics, the second-highest number of blacks, and the highest number of Asians. One additional point of interest on our master chart: Because The National Law Journalasks firms to report minority data every two years, we’re able to present minority percentages for both 1998 and 2000 for most firms. However, a comparison between years should be made with care. Because the number of minority attorneys at all firms is so small compared to the number of total attorneys, a slight increase or decrease may have produced a sharp changes in a firm’s percentage. PATTERNS IN THE NUMBERS While a few firms top our findings with significant numbers of minority lawyers, the overall average for all 214 firms is much more sobering. Only 9.7 percent of attorneys are black, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American. A sharp difference exists between the proportion of minority partners and minority associates. (Again, all partner statistics include those of both equity and nonequity status. All figures for associates include a small number of other attorneys.) While 13.2 percent of all associates are minorities, only 3.8 percent of partners are. This roughly 4-to-1 ratio shows up repeatedly in other studies. For example, the NALP reports that at the firms in its 2000 directory, minorities compose 3.4 percent of partners and 12.9 percent of associates. Diversity also seems to be most characteristic at bigger and richer firms. The average percentage of minority attorneys at firms of 250 or less lawyers is 7.2 percent, but steadily increases with firm size to 12.6 percent at firms of 751 or more lawyers. An increase in diversity also corresponds with an increase in revenue per lawyer. We applied financial data compiled by The American Lawyerto the firms on our list; 156 names overlapped. Firms with revenue per lawyer of $450,000 or less have a minority percentage of around 7 percent; those with revenue per lawyer of more than $450,000 have a percentage of around 11 percent. Our rankings only show a relationship among size, wealth, and diversity. They do not explain why that relationship exists. ETHNIC DISTRIBUTION Noticeable differences show up in the distribution of individual ethnic groups. Most obvious is the predominance of Asian-Americans. Of the 8,022 minority attorneys at the firms examined, 46.2 percent are Asian, 30.7 percent are black, 21.8 percent are Hispanic, and 1.2 percent are Native Americans. But again there’s a noticeable difference between associates and partners. Asians compose almost half — 49 percent — of the 6,816 minority associates and other attorneys. Among the 1,206 minority partners, blacks hold a slight edge, comprising 36.3 percent. But though black attorneys are less numerous than Asians, they’re more evenly distributed: 207 of our 214 firms have an African-American associate, five more than have an Asian associate. Similarly, black partners show up at 80 percent of firms; by contrast, only 53 percent of firms have an Asian partner. There are also clear geographic differences. Blacks closely follow the geographic distribution for all attorneys, minority and nonminority combined. Asian-Americans are much more likely to be found at firms based in New York or California, which have 63.8 percent of Asian attorneys but only 37 percent of all attorneys. Hispanics predominate in California, Texas, and Florida — firms in those states account for 40 percent of Hispanics, versus 21.4 percent of all attorneys. The 99 Native American attorneys reported in our survey are scattered across the country, though less likely to be at a firm based in New York. Related Chart: Diversity Scorecard Research assistance provided by Shannon Holman.

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