We publish the Diversity Scorecard each year to provide a snapshot of where the industry is headed. Diversity has long been a pressing issue at law firms, and, as in years past, any change that did occur last year was incremental.
But there are reasons for optimism, as you’ll see from reading our coverage below. Last year, we wrote about the rising trend that saw general counsel at major corporations taking a hard line on diversity, led by the legal departments of Facebook Inc., HP and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. This year, those efforts look to be taking on a more serious tone. The threat of withholding invoices is now a forceful reality in some cases. The numbers tick slowly upward, but motivation to change them is as real as ever.
In the year since corporations introduced new diversity mandates, Big Law has worked to meet the demands, crafting and implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives that strive to increase the recruitment of diverse talent and develop opportunities for minorities to rise through the ranks. General counsel have used this year as a training ground to prepare law firms for the expectations ahead—and now they’re ready to get serious.
Our thorough report on the number of minority attorneys at Am Law 200 and NLJ 250 law firms finds small amounts of progress. There are now 43 firms in this group with at least 20 percent minority attorneys, and five with at least 20 percent minority partners.
A thorough explanation of the work that goes into creating our rankings, and how they are determined.
The 2025 Black GC Initiative initially hopes to increase the number of black GCs in Fortune 1000 companies (currently at 38) to 5 percent of the total group by 2020. By 2025, the aim is to grow the proportion of black GCs to 10 percent of the top company lawyers in the Fortune 1000.
Eighteen percent of the population is Latino, but just 1.8 percent of Fortune 500 general counsel are Latino. The Hispanic National Bar Association is on a mission to close that gap. In March, the group launched Poder25, an initiative to get 20 Latino GCs at Fortune 500 companies by 2025. Poder means “to be able to” in Spanish.