01 December 2017

Minority lawyers do not make it to the top in law firms

Ethnic minorities: not getting fair share of senior legal roles

Minority lawyers now make up a record high of 16 per cent of law firms but remain few and far between at the top with only 9 per cent of law partners people of colour, according to data from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.

The new data  also shows that while nearly half of their white counterparts make partner, the vast majority of minorities remain associates. This disparity is also reflected in the corporate world, according to the report, with only 11 per cent of general counsels at Fortune 500 companies black, Hispanic, Asian or Native American  - despite the fact minorities make up a third of the total legal profession. In fact, only 57 per cent of general counsels at the nation’s 500 largest companies are from minorities and, while this figure is low, actually represents a 50 per cent increase from 10 years ago.

Series of reports due

‘It’s just not changing at the top,’ said Jean Lee, President and Chief Executive of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. The body which was set up 20 years ago to advocate for the hiring, retention and promotion of minority lawyers, is set to release a series of reports before the year end about diversity in the legal profession.