NEW YORK (March 1, 2010) – The American Lawyer’s annual Diversity Scorecard, out today, reveals that the percentage of minority attorneys at the country’s largest law firms dropped in 2009, the first such decrease in the ten years the survey has been conducted. Previously, the percentage had risen from less than 10 percent in 2000 to 13.9 percent in 2008. In 2009, for the first time, that proportion dipped, to 13.4 percent. And, while the big firms lost 6 percent of their attorneys overall between 2008 and 2009, the number of minority attorneys dropped by 9 percent. Also in this month’s issue, the magazine explores how global firms are carefully grooming mainland-born, Western-educated lawyers to lead their China practices and profiles SEC enforcement director Robert Khuzami’s efforts to lead an overhaul of this much-criticized group. For the complete Diversity Scorecard and other stories, visit http://www.americanlawyer.com.
“The industry’s diversity discussions have been long on rhetoric and short on facts. Now the facts are plain,” said Aric Press, editor in chief of The American Lawyer. “The question, particularly for the 31 firms in the group that saw minority decreases of 20 percent or more, is what firms will do to reverse this trend.”
Wilson Sonsini again led the rankings with the highest percentage of minority attorneys (25.8 percent) and the highest percentage of minority partners (19.0 percent).