Vault MCCA - Minority Corporate Counsel Association


How to Use the Law Firm Diversity Database

About the Database

Data available
Definitions
How to search
About the results
Contact


Data available

This database, compiled from responses to the annual Vault/MCCA Law Firm Diversity Survey, addresses the U.S. attorney population and does not include statistics for law firm offices outside the United States. This edition of the database includes data for more than 300 law firms who completed the survey between 2008 and 2016. While the majority of firms take the survey regularly some firms may not have participated.

The Law Firm Diversity Survey solicits quantitative data for the previous calendar year. For example, firms that completed the survey in the spring of 2016 were asked to provide demographic data as of December 31, 2015, while firms that completed the survey in 2015 provided statistics as of December 31, 2014. When reporting qualitative data (general information about diversity initiatives and programs), firms were asked to provide data current as of the time of the survey submission.

Survey data collected from law firms prior to 2008 (for the years 2003 through 2006) is available in a separate searchable database, located here.

A PDF copy of the most recent Law Firm Diversity Survey questionnaire, including instructions and definitions, is available here.

Diversity statistics (Quantitative Search)

Diversity statistics are searchable by gender and the following nine demographic groups:

The results for each of these nine categories are displayed separately, not collectively. To view aggregate results for all six racial/ethnic minority categories (African-American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Alaska Native/American Indian, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and Multiracial), select the "All minorities" option.

Statistics are available for six main attorney categories:
Law firm demographics [as of December 31, with the exception of summer associates, for which the demographics are as of summer]

Recruitment of new associates [via summer program]

Recruitment of lateral associates and partners [within the calendar year]

Attrition: attorneys who left the firm [within the calendar year]

Management-level committee representation [as of December 31]

Other leadership roles [as of December 31]

Part-time attorneys [as of December 31]


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Diversity initiatives (Qualitative Search)

In addition to statistical data, the database includes qualitative data in the form of narrative responses to the following questions. Note that some questions solicited short-answer responses, others were limited to Yes/No responses and others offered a set of multiple-choice options with the opportunity to provide an additional "Other" response.

Whereas all quantitative results are included for each year in which a firm participated in the survey, for qualitative questions, only the most recent response submitted by a firm is provided. For example, if a firm participated in both the 2016 and 2015 editions of the Diversity Survey, only the firm's responses for 2016 are included. If a firm only participated in 2015, the firm's 2015 responses are provided.

Firm Diversity Narrative

Strategic Plan and Diversity Leadership

Pipeline Initiatives

Recruitment: New Associates

Recruitment: Lateral Associates and Partners

Retention and Professional Development

Management Demographic Profile

Complete diversity profile

To review a firm's entire diversity profile (i.e., its responses to all survey questions), click on the firm's name on the search results screen to download a PDF version of the firm's most recent submission.


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Definitions

For the purposes of the survey and this database, law firms were asked to use the following definitions:

Attorneys: All statistics represent permanent attorney staff in the United States. They do not include temporary or contract attorneys or any non-attorney staff, except summer associates.

Associate: A non-partner lawyer who has no ownership rights or responsibilities but who has an opportunity to become an owner; associates are employees of the firm and are considered on partnership track, even if they ultimately leave the firm or are not chosen for partnership.

Summer associate: A law student, usually between second and third year (called a 2L, in that case), who serves as a law associate for the summer and is supervised by a lawyer or lawyers. Note that the main law firm demographics include all summer associates, while the statistics for summer associate offers under the recruitment section include only 2Ls.

Equity partner: An attorney, generally referred to as a partner, member or shareholder, who has the right to share in the profits of the firm.

Non-equity partner: A law firm employee who has been promoted from associate to a tier of partnership in which the lawyer does not share in the profits or capital of the firm; this position is often an intermediate step toward full equity partner.

Of counsel: A lawyer, who may be known as of counsel, counsel, special counsel, staff attorney or senior attorney, who is neither an associate nor a partner; the lawyer does not currently share in the firm's profits but might be on a track that enables consideration for partnership. He or she is a permanent employee of the firm and not a temporary or contract attorney. This category may also include an attorney who has retired from a partnership position but remains an employee, sometimes on a part-time basis.

New hire: An attorney who has joined the firm sometime during the year indicated on the table; this includes all first-year associates, laterals and partners (both equity and non-equity). It does not include summer associates.

Diversity: For this survey, diversity is defined as minorities, women, openly or self-identified GLBT attorneys, and attorneys with disabilities. If an attorney fits into more than one diversity category on a chart (e.g., a white lesbian attorney or a gay male minority), then the same person may be counted in both categories. The same person should not be counted in more than one racial minority category.

Minority: For this survey, minorities are defined as those whose race is other than White/Caucasian and include the following categories designated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: African-American/Black (not Hispanic or Latino); Hispanic/Latino; Alaska Native/American Indian; Asian; Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander; and Multiracial (those who identify with two or more of the above races). Please note that no attorney can be counted in more than one minority category.

Individuals with disabilities: For this survey, "individuals with disabilities" should be understood broadly to include (a) anyone who has identified himself or herself as having a disability; (b) anyone who has requested an accommodation due to a disability; and (c) anyone who you can confirm from observation or other objective evidence clearly has a disability. Typical conditions that can result in disability include mental, sensory, or physical impairment or condition, such as epilepsy; muscular dystrophy; multiple sclerosis; fibromyalgia; paraplegia; quadriplegia; amputations; psychiatric disabilities, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder; dementia; learning disabilities; AIDS or HIV status; cancer; diabetes; heart disease; stroke; blindness and other visual impairments; deafness and other hearing impairments; alcoholism or other substance abuse; and age-related impairments.

Minority-owned or women-owned law firm: For the purposes of this survey, a law firm is considered minority-owned if it is at least 51 percent owned, managed and controlled by minority group members. A firm is considered women-owned if it is at least 51 percent owned, managed and controlled by women.

Executive/Management Committee: The firm's chief governing body responsible for the strategy and future growth of the firm.

Hiring Committee: The committee or other group that leads the firm's activities with regard to the recruitment and hiring of associates.

Partner Review Committee: The committee or other group that reviews and evaluates the performance of partners for the purposes of advancement and compensation.

Associate Review Committee: The committee or other group that reviews and evaluates the performance of associates for the purposes of advancement and compensation.


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How to search


Quantitative Search

Compare statistical data across firms. Search by demographic group and attorney category.

Step 1. Choose Firms (Select up to 5 firms)
Select the firms whose responses you wish to compare. Use the CTRL key to select more than one firm; you may select up to five firms at one time.

Filter by firm size and location
You can use the "Filter" feature to limit your search to firms of a certain size (based on firmwide number of attorneys) or geographic location (based on the state in which the firm's main U.S. office is located). Some firms may not have identified a main office, in which case they are associated with all locations. Note that the results displayed are for all of the firm's U.S. offices, not just for its main office.

Step 2: Select Demographic Categories
You may select any or all of the following demographic categories. Note that the results for individual demographic groups will be displayed separately (not collectively). To view aggregate results for all six racial/ethnic minority categories (African-American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Alaska Native/American Indian, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and Multiracial), select the "All minorities" option at the top of the list.

Select One or More Demographic Groups

Select Gender
(By default, the program will search both men and women.)

Step 3: Select One or More Attorney Categories

You may select any or all of the attorney categories under the six main headings. Note that their results will be displayed separately, not collectively. (See Data available section above for detailed list of all attorney categories available.)

To search on any attorney categories other than those under the "Part-time attorneys" section, you must select at least one demographic group. You may also select a gender; if you do not specify a gender, then the program will search on both men and women by default.

Search part-time attorneys

Statistics for part-time attorneys are searchable only by gender and attorney level, and not by racial or other demographic group. To search for data on part-time attorneys, select gender and one or more of the four attorney levels under the part-time attorneys heading.

Search other leadership roles

Statistics for leadership roles, other than those included under Management-level committee representation, are searchable by role (U.S. office heads, practice group/department leaders and committee leaders) and the following four demographic groups: minorities, women, GLBT attorneys and attorneys with disabilities. To search data in this section, select one or more demographic groups and at least one leadership role.


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Qualitative Search

Compare firms' responses to short-answer and narrative questions.

Step 1. Choose Firms (Select up to 5 firms)
Select the firms whose responses you wish to compare. Use the CTRL key to select more than one firm; you may select up to five firms at one time.

Filter by firm size and location
You can use the "Filter" feature to limit your search to firms of a certain size (based on firmwide number of attorneys) or geographic location (based on the state in which the firm's main U.S. office is located). Some firms may not have identified a main office, in which case they are associated with all locations. Note that the results displayed are for all of the firm's U.S. offices, not just for its main office.

Step 2: Select a Qualitative Question
Select one question or set of questions from the following sections of the survey. (See Data available above for detailed list of all questions available.) Note that in some cases, related questions have been combined into a single search field (e.g., "Diversity committee" and "Accountability for diversity goals").


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Browse by Firm

To view a firm's complete diversity profile (with its responses to all survey questions in a single PDF document), select the firm's name from the list. Note that the complete diversity profile is available only for the firm's most recent survey submission. For example, if a firm participated in both the 2016 and 2015 editions of the Diversity Survey, only the firm's profile for 2016 is available in PDF format; if a firm only participated in 2015, the firm's 2015 PDF profile is provided.



About the results

All firms were encouraged, but not required, to answer all survey questions. In cases where a firm did not respond to a question, "[No response]" or "N/A" has been entered.

Quantitative data

The results table provides the number of attorneys that meet the criteria selected for each law firm, demographic group, gender and attorney category. Where a question was unanswered, "N/A" appears. By default, data for all years are displayed. To display data for just one year, click on that year in the upper left portion of the table.

The table also displays each set of results as a percentage of all attorneys in a given category. For example, if you select the firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and the search criteria African-American/Black, Men, Associates (under Law Firm Demographics), you will get the following results:

This means that the firm reported that as of December 31, 2008, it had 11 African-American male associates—representing 2.33 percent of the total of 472 associates (including both genders). In 2007, African-American men represented 2.35 percent of all associates at the firm.

Industry-wide data

In addition to each individual firm's data, the results table also includes a column with industry-wide totals. These figures represent the sum of all data reported by participating law firms. In the example above, the industry-wide totals indicate that in 2008 African-American men represented approximately 1.84 percent of all associates across reporting firms (963 African-American men associates out of a total of 52,472 associates).

Firm comments

When providing statistics, firms were also given the opportunity to comment on or explain the data reported. If any comments were provided, they are available as a pop-up window under the relevant category on the search results page. Note that the comments are associated with the attorney category as a whole and may not be specific to a particular demographic group or gender.

In the Akin Gump example cited above, if you click on "Read comments" for 2008, a pop-up window will display the following note provided by the firm with respect to its associate statistics:

Partnership data

In order to provide context for their equity and non-equity partner statistics, firms were asked to indicate whether or not their firm has more than one tier of partnership; if so, they were asked to enter the relevant data for both equity and non-equity partners. Each firm's Yes/No response to this question appears in the results table when the search criteria include either equity or non-equity partners.

Filter results

From the search results screen, you can filter your results or modify your search criteria by using the controls on the left side of the screen. Remove firms from your search results by clicking on the red X next to the firm's name; add firms by typing the first few letters of the firm's name.

Qualitative data

On the results screen, the search question is displayed both at the top of the screen and above each individual firm's response. Where a question was unanswered, either "[No response]" or "N/A" has been entered.

Saving or printing search results

Quantitative data

You can download the results of a quantitative search into a spreadsheet by clicking on the "Download a copy of this data" link underneath the table of results.

Qualitative data

You can print the results of a qualitative search directly from your web browser by using the "Print" feature on your browser. (There is no download option for qualitative results.)

Complete diversity profile

To view a firm's complete diversity profile (with its responses to all survey questions in a single PDF document), use the "Browse by Firm" tab and select the firm's name from the list. Alternatively, click on the hyperlink in the firm's name on the search results screen.

Note that the complete diversity profile is available only for the firm's most recent survey submission. For example, if a firm participated in both the 2016 and 2015 editions of the Diversity Survey, only the firm's profile for 2016 is available in PDF format; if a firm only participated in 2015, the firm's 2015 PDF profile is provided.

Searching older data

This edition of the Law Firm Diversity Database contains data reported for the years 2007 through 2015. Survey data for prior years (2003 through 2006) is available in Version 1 of the Law Firm Diversity Database.


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Contact

For help using the Law Firm Diversity Database or questions about the Law Firm Diversity Survey, please contact legaldiversity@vault.com.


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