Shocking Lack of Law Firm Attorney Diversity

Revisiting the 2021 ABA Model Diversity Survey as we go through our annual rate review process and find it truly shocking that more progress has not been made in the legal profession over the past 50 years. In the data set, firm attorneys are only one-third women and in the equity partner group only 21%.

The numbers are even more dismal for diversity in ethnicity. 86% of firm attorneys are white, even though the US population is only 59% white with Hispanic and African American populations the most under-represented.

How can we ever hope to achieve equal opportunity in this country if the lawyer corps does not accurately reflect the diversity of our citizenry?

And with those numbers, it is is not surprising to find attorneys fleeing firms for corporate legal, consulting and small practice jobs. Nor is it surprising that leading corporations that have supplier diversity goals are seeking pipelines outside the traditional law firm.

On the other hand I am somewhat encouraged by the greater transparency that the majority of the legal industry is adopting. It is only by facing the facts head on that we can being to achieve lasting change and face the future in a strong competitive position.

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to check out the report at: