Biglaw, Feminism, Gay, Gender, Minority Issues, Racism, Rankings, Vault rankings, Women's Issues

The Best Law Firms for Diversity (2012)

Ebony and ivory, billing together in perfect harmony.

We’ve talked a lot in these pages about the value of diversity. It’s important to clients, it’s important to law firms, and it’s important to the legal profession as a whole.

Given the significance of diversity, it’s not surprising that several organizations and news outlets focus on it, especially with respect to large law firms. In the past few weeks, we’ve discussed diversity data from Building A Better Legal Profession and from the American Lawyer, for example.

Today brings news of more diversity rankings, this time from the ranking gurus over at Vault. They’ve compiled a list of 25 best law firms for diversity.

Which firms made the cut? Is your firm on the list?

As explained on the Vault Law Blog, the Vault diversity rankings are based on Vault survey data:

Vault’s diversity rankings are part of our annual law firm associate survey and have been a critical aspect of the survey since its inception; the survey is in its 14th consecutive year. This year, Vault received responses from nearly 16,000 law firm associates from approximately 300 law firms. Associates were asked to rate their firms’ commitments to diversity regarding women, minorities and LGBT. Vault’s diversity rankings are unique in that they are derived from the insights and ratings of insider associates.

And here are the top ten firms for diversity, according to Vault:

1. Carlton Fields
2. Littler Mendelson
3. Ropes & Gray
4. Jenner & Block
5. Weil, Gotshal & Manges
6. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
7. Shook, Hardy & Bacon
8. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
9. Foley Hoag
10. Debevoise & Plimpton

Congratulations to Carlton Fields, which took the #1 spot for the third year in a row, as well as all the other law firms recognized for their diversity. We’ve just listed the top ten; feel free to check out the complete list of top 25 firms for diversity, over at Vault. In addition, Vault recognizes firms for excellence in diversity subcategories, namely, LGBT diversity, minority diversity, and diversity for women.

We took the Vault diversity rankings and compared them to the Am Law diversity rankings. Four firms made the top 25 on both lists:

  • Carlton Fields: #1 for Vault, #20 for Am Law
  • Weil Gotshal: #5 for Vault, #18 for Am Law
  • Cleary Gottlieb: #6 for Vault, #4 for Am Law
  • Paul Weiss: #8 for Vault, #11 for Am Law

Congrats to all four firms — and a special shout-out to Cleary for making the top 10 on both lists. And an honorable mention to Debevoise, which narrowly missed making the top 25 on both (it was #10 for Vault and #26 for Am Law).

Law firms seem to be making strides forward on diversity, but there’s still room for improvement. Rankings like those of Vault and Am Law are helpful because they keep the pressure on firms to maintain and enhance diversity.

As we all know, nothing motivates lawyers and law firms quite like the prospect of scoring well on rankings.

Announcing Vault’s 2012 Best Law Firms for Diversity [Vault’s Law Blog]
Law Firm Rankings 2012: The Best Law Firms For Diversity [Vault]

Earlier: Which Law Firms Are Most Diverse? Let’s Look at the Rankings
New Data on Law Firm Diversity

ATL Law Firm Directory
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