The 2018 Law360 Diversity Snapshot

Law360 (June 18, 2018, 1:25 PM EDT) -- The 2018 Law360 Diversity Snapshot shows only incremental progress on racial and ethnic diversity in the attorney workforce. At every level of a typical law firm, minority attorney representation increased by less than a percentage point from last year’s survey.  

Now, just over 15 percent of attorneys and 9 percent of partners at surveyed law firms identify as a minority, the report shows.

This stands in stark contrast to the growing diversity of U.S. law schools. Minorities have made up more than 20 percent of law students for almost two decades. More recently, more than 30 percent of law students identified as a racial or ethnic minority, according to American Bar Association statistics.

In this report, we hear from minority attorneys on the challenges they face at BigLaw — and on defying the odds to reach its highest levels. Our podcast team talks about how firms can do better. And we again rank the largest U.S. law firms based on their percentages of minority attorneys and equity partners.

FEATURES & ANALYSIS
The Best Firms For Minority Attorneys
While U.S. law firms have long vowed to make their ranks more diverse and inclusive, the industry has long failed to deliver on those promises. Here are the firms making some headway, according to this year’s Diversity Snapshot.

The Best Firms For Minority Equity Partners
The legal industry is making sluggish gains when it comes to attracting and retaining attorneys of color, but this select group of firms is taking broader strides to diversify at the top.

The Best Firms For Women And Minority Attorneys
It's the rare law firm that is consistently ahead of the pack on hiring and promoting women and minorities, according to Law360's annual headcount survey. Here are the firms leading the way in building a more diverse attorney workforce.

Law360’s Diversity Snapshot: By The Numbers
Efforts to increase diversity have again yielded few meaningful changes in law firm demographics, according to Law360’s annual headcount survey, even as law schools continue to enroll students of color in increasing numbers.

Minority Lawyers On Why They Left BigLaw
Despite the proliferation of diversity committees and inclusion initiatives, corporate law firms remain overwhelmingly white and male, especially at leadership levels. Here, minority attorneys discuss their reasons for leaving a large firm.

In Their Own Words: Minority Partners On Reaching The Top
Despite decades of industrywide initiatives, movement up the ladder has stagnated for minority lawyers. Here, five industry success stories tell Law360 about the paths they took and what needs to change in BigLaw.

The Hurdles Facing BigLaw’s Minority Women
We asked BigLaw for data on female minority lawyers for the first time this year, and the results show an industry that is failing to attract and retain them. Here’s a look at the challenges facing these attorneys — and how a few firms are defying the norm.

Taking On The ‘Petri Dish’ Of BigLaw Bias
The often-informal processes for deciding matters like compensation at law firms can create, as one expert put it, a “petri dish” for the effects of unconscious bias. Here’s how some firms are looking to shake up the system.

BigLaw Bias & Harassment: Lawyers In Their Own Words
As part of our recent Satisfaction Survey, we asked our readers whether they’d faced harassment or discrimination based on race or sex, and many of the responses were jarring. Here’s what they had to say.

GCs Tackle Law Firm Culture In Diversity Push
Following an American Bar Association pledge, in-house attorneys are taking a harder line in demanding diversity from their outside counsel, and they're seeking to play a larger role in the workings of the law firms they hire.

PODCAST
Law360's Pro Say: What BigLaw Should Do About Diversity
For years law firms have had programs aimed at increasing attorney diversity, but nothing is working. On this week’s Pro Say podcast we take a look at our latest survey of diversity at law firms, and unpack what experts say are the things that could actually move the needle on this issue.

FROM OUR EXPERTS
BigLaw Doesn't Have A Diversity Problem
Although the lack of racial and gender diversity among the ranks of the majority of both midsized and top law firms is a major issue, it’s past time to shed light on the real problem — inclusion, or lack thereof, says Marlen Whitley of Reed Smith LLP.

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