According to Am Law Daily’s annual “Diversity Scorecard” the largest 191 U.S. law firms became less diverse in 2009. In the nine previous years the Scorecard has been compiled there have been increases every year, from less than 10% in 2000 to 13.9% in 2008. In 2009 this percentage dropped to 13.4%. Between 2008 and 2009 large law firms cut 6% of their attorneys, including 9% of minority attorneys. Many in the legal profession are concerned about the impact of these job cuts on diversity in the workplace and fear that it may lead to a continued downward trend in the hiring of minority lawyers.
Am Law’s Diversity Scorecard is based upon a firm’s percentage of overall minority lawyers and the percentage of minority partners. Wilson Sonsini held its number one ranking but other formerly topped ranked firms dropped several spots. Townsend and Townsend and Crew dropped from 2nd to 14th; Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy dropped from 10th to 17th. Townsend says it is keeping a close watch on their diversity numbers. Milbank says its percentage of minority lawyers has held steady at 23% once the new entering class is taken into account.