March 2012 Bar Bulletin
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March 2012 Bar Bulletin

Diversity Survey Suggests Comeback for Minority Attorneys


NEW YORK -, the source of employer rankings, ratings and insight for the legal industry, and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), the nation's foremost authority on diversity issues in the legal profession, have released the results of this year's Law Firm Diversity Survey in the Law Firm Diversity Database (

The fully searchable online tool features comprehensive data on diversity performance for more than 300 law firms nationwide. The Vault/MCCA data provide evidence that the legal profession is slowly recovering from the economic crisis and that progress for minority lawyers, which was halted - and, in some cases, reversed - in 2009, has moved forward again. However, partnership prospects remain dim for most minority attorneys, as well as female attorneys.

Signs of Post-Recession Recovery

Entry-level and lateral recruiting experienced a welcome uptick in 2010, although hiring remained well below 2007 levels. Data also suggest that law firms are doing a better job of retaining lawyers. In contrast to 2009, when law firms lost 2,661 more attorneys than they hired, in 2010 more attorneys were hired (12,374) than left their firms (10,254).

While the 2L summer associate class of 2010 was substantially smaller than previous classes, the full-time offer rate returned to pre-recession levels, with 88.78% of 2Ls receiving permanent offers in 2010 (compared to just 72.82% in 2009).

Minority Attorneys Regaining Ground

In 2010, minority attorneys regained some of the ground lost to the recession, as hiring and attrition returned to pre-recession rates and the proportion of minority equity partners grew. Overall, the percentage of minority attorneys in the law firm population, which had fallen to 13.44% in 2009, climbed back to 2007 levels (13.77%).

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