The American Lawyer Reports Two Surveys: BigLaw’s Black Lawyer Count Dropping; “Second Hundred” Firms’ Growth Trails Am Law 100
NEW YORK – May 29, 2014 – ALM’s The American Lawyer published its annual Diversity Scorecard in the June issue and online at www.americanlawyer.com, finding modest increases in the percentage of minority lawyers and partners at 223 reporting large firms but continuing declines in the already low representation of African-Americans. In a separate survey reported in the issue, the nation’s “Second Hundred” highest grossing firms showed average revenue growth of only 2.6 percent last year, less than half of the Am Law 100’s 5.4 percent.
The Diversity Scorecard found that black lawyers accounted for just 3.0 percent of reporting firms’ lawyers in 2013, a number that has declined in each of the past five years. Black partners were flat at 1.9 percent. The American Lawyer investigates how the profession’s diversity efforts have gone wrong through interviews with two dozen black lawyers, in-house counsel, diversity experts, academics and others.
Among other minority lawyer groups, Asian-Americans are the largest, showing slow and steady growth to 6.3 percent of the total, though the gap between the 2.7 percent who are partners and the 9.3 percent non-partners suggests that the bar to partnership is high. Hispanic lawyers now account for 3.2 percent of lawyers and 2.3 percent of partners, surpassing the percentage of African-American lawyers for the first time.
White & Case, with 27.5 percent minority lawyers and 21.8 percent partners, earned the highest Diversity Score, which the study calculates for each reporting firm, followed by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith. Last year Lewis Brisbois topped the list, followed by White & Case and Wilson Sonsini. The lowest score of the 223 firms was turned in by Wyatt Tarrant & Combs, a Southeast regional firm reporting 3.0 percent minority lawyers and 1.7 percent minority partners.
In a separate survey report in the June issue, The American Lawyer completed its rankings of the 200 largest U.S. firms begun with publication of the Am Law 100 in May. Average gross revenue growth of the Second Hundred slowed to 2.6 percent last year from 3.2 percent in 2012, leaving them further behind the Am Law 100, which grew at an average 5.4 percent rate last year. The largest gains among the Second Hundred were shown by Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ceresi and Dickinson Wright, while Dickstein Shapiro suffered the largest decline.
Though Am Law 100 firms dominate the top-20 lists in key metrics like profits per partner (PPP) and revenue per lawyer (RPL), the Second Hundred’s Irell & Manella won 6th place in PPP and four firms – Irell; Munger Tolles & Olson; Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi; and Choate Hall & Stewart – made the RPL list.
About The Am Law 100/200
The American Lawyer’s Am Law 100/200 has been recognized as the definitive public ranking of financial performance for the nation’s largest law firms since its introduction in 1987. Am Law 100/200 metrics are primary benchmarks for law firms seeking to assess their competitive position in the marketplace. Am Law 200 spreadsheet data is available for online purchase at www.almlegalintel.com along with data on the Am Law 100, which was published last month.
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