FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vault.com and MCCA Launch 2009 Law Firm Diversity Database
Statistics Reveal Slow Growth of Women and Minorities at Senior Levels
Percentage of Women Equity Partners Increases just 6 Percent Since 2003
New York, NY (March 19, 2009) – Vault, the Web’s most comprehensive career resource, and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) have introduced the 2009 Law Firm Diversity Database(http://mcca.vault.com). The new database is a fully-searchable online tool with comprehensive data on diversity performance at nearly 280 law firms nationwide, including the majority of the Am Law 200. The data shows limited improvement in diversity at the highest ranks of U.S. law firms from 2003-2007.
The Vault/MCCA Law Firm Diversity Database is compiled based on the organizations annual diversity survey, a comprehensive online questionnaire distributed to law firms nationwide. The result is quantitative and qualitative data that provides a complete picture of the diversity commitment and programs within each law firm. Using the free Diversity Database, the corporate counsel community, graduating law students and prospective employees can fully evaluate the diversity programs and make-up of the nation’s top law firms including the percentage of women and minorities employed by firms in a variety of categories, ranging from full-time associates to equity partners to management roles.
With the launch of the 2009 Law Firm Diversity Database, corporations looking to hire outside counsel, as well as job seekers, have crucial information at their disposal to compare the diversity commitment and progress of the nation’s largest law firms, said Samer Hamadeh, Vault’s chief operating officer. Vault is pleased to be working with MCCA and leading corporate counsel to shine a spotlight on the issue of diversity in the legal community.
Advancing diversity and annually benchmarking progress is essential work for MCCA, said Veta Richardson, executive director of the MCCA. But what is particularly exciting about this database is the ability to standardize the type of information that it is openly available about law firm diversity efforts and to continue to raise the bar as good approaches are adopted by more and more law firms.
Created in cooperation with Accenture, Bank of America, PPG Industries, Sara Lee, Microsoft and Wal-Mart, the Vault/MCCA Law Firm Diversity Database was developed to support the Call to Action, a corporate counsel initiative founded in 2003 and devoted to increasing diversity at U.S. law firms. To date, nearly 150 chief legal officers, representing many of the country’s largest companies, have joined the Call to Action. The Call to Action initiative is led by Roderick Palmore, formerly of Sara Lee and currently executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of General Mills. The Diversity Database survey initiative has been spearheaded by James Diggs, who is senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of PPG Industries.
There is no doubt that quality legal services can and should be provided by a diverse and inclusive legal team. The business case is clear and, thus, diversity is more than simply the right thing to do it’s the right thing for business, said Mr. Diggs. However, the historical lack of progress within the law firm community suggests that many firms have not fully appreciated the importance of diversity and may not be doing all that they can to achieve a diverse workforce. While we wish progress were more swift, we believe that the MCCA and Vault database is an important resource that has and will help spur advancement.
Any serious conversation about the best talent must factor in diversity. Those companies and firms which ignore diversity eventually will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage, said Mr. Palmore. There remains much to be done, but we are making progress. With the help of MCCA and Vault, we intend to keep at it until the barriers to full and equal participation for all lawyers are broken.
Law Firm Diversity Database Significant Improvements
The 2009 MCCA/Vault Law Firm Diversity Database (http://mcca.vault.com) represents a significant expansion of the initial edition of the database (http://extranet.vault.com/lawdiversity), which was released in May 2008. First, the 2009 edition is a fully searchable online tool; second, it incorporates information from more than 70 additional law firms, for a total of nearly 280; and, third, it includes an expanded list of diversity categories. The May 2008 database includes information from 2003 through 2006 on minority men, minority women, white women and GLBT attorneys. The 2009 edition also includes data on attorneys with disabilities, as well as the following racial/ethnic categories: White/Caucasian, African-American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Alaska Native/American Indian, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander and Multiracial.
On the qualitative front, the database now includes a section devoted to pipeline programs as well as information on how firm leadership communicates the importance of diversity to its staff members and the ways leadership is held accountable for achieving results.
The MCCA/Vault Law Firm Diversity Database is a free resource. Registration is required. The next edition of the MCCA/Vault Law Firm Diversity Database is expected to be released during the fourth quarter of 2009 and will include statistics for 2008.
Results Show Slow Progress, Especially Among Equity Partners
Despite having recently elected its first African-American president, the United States has not demonstrated the same level of progress with diversity in the nation’s law firms, particularly at the most senior levels. While the number of women and minorities joining law firms as associates is fairly significant, the percentage of women and minorities who advance through the ranks to partner drops significantly. For 2007, women made up 44.66% of associates at law firms, while only 16.07% of equity partners were women. Minorities overall represented 20.69% of law firm associates, but only 5.64% of equity partners. For minority women, the trend is similar: 11.57% of associates are minority women, but minority women represent only 1.55% of equity partners.
Further, while the numbers are trending up, growth for minorities and women at the partner level continues to be slow. The number of women equity partners in law firms grew just 6% between 2003 and 2007. At the same time, minority representation at the equity partner level increased by 28.7%, but rose just over a percentage point in the overall numbers — moving from 4.38% to 5.64% of the total equity partner numbers.
Below is a year-by-year breakdown:
Alaska Native/American Indian: 0.16%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander: 0.02%
Minority Women Attorneys:
Alaska Native/American Indian: 0.04%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander: 0.01%
Alaska Native/American Indian: 0.10%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander: 0.07 %
Vault (Vault.com) is the Web’s most comprehensive resource for career management and job search information, including insider intelligence on salaries, hiring practices and company cultures. Vault features thousands of company and university profiles, information on hundreds of occupations and industries, articles on a multitude of workplace topics as well as jobs-related video, blogs and research tools. Vault publishes more than 120 online and print books, from the best-selling Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms to the Vault Guide to Schmoozing. The company’s clients include Fortune 1000 advertisers and recruiters, leading universities and graduate schools and nearly 8 million consumers worldwide. Maintaining offices in New York, London, Mumbai, and Hong Kong, Vault was founded in 1996.
The Minority Corporate Counsel Association advocates for the expanded hiring, promotion, and retention of minority attorneys in corporate legal departments and the law firms that serve them. MCCA furthers its mission by publishing research on achieving diversity and best practices in the legal profession, honoring innovative diversity programs with its Employer of Choice and Thomas L. Sager awards, and assisting diverse law students through the Lloyd M. Johnson, Jr. Scholarship Program. MCCA’s work has been recognized with awards from the National Minority Business Council, Inc., the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Gay and Lesbian Law Association, and the Association of Corporate Counsel. Founded in 1997, MCCA is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and also has a Southeast regional office in Atlanta, Ga. For more information, go to mcca.com.