An old white male and his younger diverse peeps.

Law firm diversity matters. It matters to corporate clients, many of them public companies that want to demonstrate their commitment to diversity through their selection of vendors and service providers — which is what law firms are, at the end of the day. It matters to the law students and lawyers that firms are trying to recruit — which is the premise behind the data collection conducted by Building A Better Legal Profession.

So there should be keen interest in the latest edition of the American Lawyer’s Diversity Scorecard 2011, which the magazine just released. As Am Law explains, the Scorecard constitutes its annual ranking of large law firms by their percentage of minority attorneys and minority partners.

Let’s take a look at the top firms for diversity. Did your firm make the list?

Am Law determines the “diversity score” for each firm, defined as the “minority percentage of all U.S. attorneys + minority percentage of all U.S. partners.” It then ranks the Am Law 200 firms by their scores.

Here are the top 10 “most diverse” law firms (click to enlarge):

Note the domination of California-centric firms: seven of the top ten shops by diversity are based in the Golden State. This shouldn’t be shocking, given the demographic profile of that state, where non-Hispanic whites amount to just 40 percent of the population. (Non-Hispanic whites were in the minority in California as early as the 2000 census.)

Two more of the top ten firms are classified as “International” (White & Case and Cleary Gottlieb), and a third is based in New York (Hughes Hubbard). Not surprisingly, all three of these firms have strong international practices. Diversity can help when you’re trying to obtain business from a wide range of clients hailing from different parts of the world.

Congratulations to these super-diverse firms. Feel free to check out the full rankings to see where your firm falls.

Diversity Scorecard 2011 [American Lawyer]
Wilson Sonsini Is Nation’s Most Diverse BigLaw Firm, Survey Finds [ABA Journal]

Earlier: New Data on Law Firm Diversity


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