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Large law firms remain overwhelmingly populated by white lawyers, and the disparity is even more pronounced at the partnership level, according to the annual Diversity Scorecard published by the Minority Law Journal, a sibling publication of The American Lawyer. Minority attorneys make up 14.2 percent of U.S. lawyers, but only 4.4 percent of U.S. partners, at the 236 firms that responded to the Minority Law Journal‘s latest survey, results of which were reported in the publication’s spring edition. Those percentages are far short of the proportion of minorities in the general U.S. population, which was 37.3 percent in the 2000 census. Still, the Minority Law Journal found that many large firms have increased the percentage of minorities in their partnerships in the past five years. Among those with the largest gain were Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Baker & Hostetler, Thelen Reid & Priest, and Shook Hardy & Bacon. Lawyers in foreign offices were excluded from the Journal‘s calculations. The survey uses statistics collected by The National Law Journal (also a sibling publication of The American Lawyer) as part of its annual census of the 250 largest firms in the country. A total of 236 firms reported ethnic data for the current survey; all figures are as of September 30, 2003. Of the top 20 firms in this year’s Scorecard, 14 are repeats from the top 20 firms in 2003′s edition of the Scorecard. As it did last year, Miami’s Steel Hector & Davis tops the list. New York’s Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison was No. 2, moving up six places from its showing in 2003. Paul Weiss was not the only strong performer among New York firms: Eleven of 2004′s top 20 are based there. Likewise, the Scorecard’s third-place finisher, Palo Alto’s Wilson Sonsini, leads a pack of seven California firms in the top 20. Besides Steel Hector, Washington, D.C.’s Arnold & Porter was the only other firm in the top 20 that is not based in either New York or California. Selected findings from the survey appear in this package. Full results of the survey and its methodology are available in the spring 2004 edition of the Minority Law Journal. Partial results are available at minoritylawjournal.com.

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