Gender imbalance increases at top US firms

November 7, 2011 Newly released figures on diversity in US law firms shows a slight improvement in ethnic diversity at major firms. The percentage of minority lawyers at top US rose from 12.4 percent in 2010 to 12.7 this year, according to the latest edition of the NALP Directory of Legal Employers. In human terms, these figures translate to about 372 more minority attorneys this year.

The data on the number of female attorneys was less positive, with women accounting for 32.6 per cent of law firm lawyers this year, down from 32.7 per cent in 2010. The decline describes a loss of about 123 female attorneys among the 123,012-attorney sample.

"Last year, on the heels of the recession, we saw the figures for women and minority associates dip for the first time since NALP began tracking lawyer demographics at law firms," said NALP Executive Director James Leipold. "The 2011 figures reveal that a year later, while the figures for minority associates have bounced back, the overall number of women associates actually declined further. This is a significant finding."

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