Thursday, October 16, 2008

Minority Women Partners- Where are You?

The National Law Journal recently came out with a report showing what a lot of us already know, there aren't that many minority women partners in law firms. The report states:

Minority women remain the most underrepresented group among law firm partners, according to the report. They currently make up 1.88% of partners at law firms. By contrast, the report found that minority men make up 4.21% of partners, and women overall account for 18.74% of partners.

Some say the reason is because there aren't that many minority women in the "pipeline." But what exactly is the pipeline?? There are plenty of minority women at law schools and in entry level position, but where do they go? NOT to have babies as some would think. Rather, according to the ABA:

A 2006 study by the ABA Commission on Women, "Visible Invisibility: Women of Color in Law Firms," concluded that women of color are leaving the profession in droves because they are the victims of an uninterrupted cycle of institutional discrimination. Many women responding to the ABA survey said they felt they were denied the same opportunities to succeed as their male and nonminority counterparts.

NALP provides city and state breakdowns here (scroll down to tables), illustrating that Houston is about average (4%) in its representation of women minority partners. Who is below average? Cities in this category include Charlotte, Grand Rapids, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Salt Lake City, and St. Louis.

Before we all jump up and down for Houston being average, think about what the average is- a mere 4%. That is so wrong. So here is my shout out to Houston Law Firms- look for those competent minority women lawyers and then focus on retention. Come on, you can do it!

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