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The Department of Law and Public Safety’s affirmative-action statistics show that 13.1 percent of lawyers on its staff in 2000 are minorities, while a private survey reports that minorities make up 9.8 percent of associates at large New Jersey firms. The department’s overall diversity, taking into account lawyers and other employees, is higher still. In 2000, the latest year for which numbers are available, minorities made up 25.5 percent of the 8,536 employees, 1 percent above the standard the department set for minority representation in 1997. Of those, 747 were deputy attorneys general. While the lawyer ranks are less diverse than the staff at large, the 13.1 percent figure is an improvement from 1997, when 9.4 percent of the department’s 577 lawyers were nonwhite. The pool of available lawyers for the Law Division to draw on is also less diverse than the department’s entire work force or the state population at large. By contrast, a survey published Oct. 3 by the National Association of Law Placement indicates that in 2000, 9.8 percent of the associates at major New Jersey firms were minorities. That was nevertheless an improvement over the 6.8 percent level reported in 1998. The attorney general’s staff lawyers are also more gender diverse. Women made up a little more than 50 percent of the department’s lawyers in 1997 and that number held steady in 2000. Among the nonlawyer ranks, the numbers of women are as low as 16.2 percent in some categories and as high as 44.5 percent in others, depending on the job title. The NALP survey reports that 41.7 percent of associates at surveyed New Jersey firms were women, a slight increase over the 39.86 percent reported in 1998. Diversity of partnership is less still. At the New Jersey firms surveyed, 1.8 percent of partners were nonwhite and 13.8 percent were women. The Department of Law and Public Safety’s improvement comes because the department deliberately recruits at minority job fairs, in addition to its regular work at college campuses, according to Assistant Attorney General Alfred Ramey Jr., who oversees the department’s Equal Employment Opportunity and Workforce Development Plan. Law Division Director Douglas Wolfson is heading a hiring effort to increase minority representation in the ranks of deputy attorneys general and in the division’s leadership. “We have to better reflect New Jersey,” Wolfson says. “There are a lot of right-minded people who would like to see this improve.” Part of the division’s problem is that many law firms are trying to do the same thing, and they pay more. “If you’re a very talented minority lawyer, you’re a pretty hot commodity in the big law firms. Their standards are very high and they pay very high. It’s hard for me to compete and go after a guy who could be at Greenbaum, Rowe, [Smith, Ravin, Davis & Himmel].” At the large firms, a lawyer can start off in the $95,000 range and head toward $300,000 by mid-career. In Trenton, that same lawyer starts at $50,000 and will never catch up to his or her private colleague. Wolfson is undaunted. “If you’re conscious of it and you make the effort, you can really get good people to come here,” he says, noting that the cases can be more interesting and the work serves the public. As far as nonsalaried compensation, the state’s pensions and health-care benefits outstrip the private sector’s, and the work hours are less frenetic. “If you walked round the building at 7 o’clock at night, you wouldn’t see very many people,” Wolfson says.

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