A report released by the Dallas Diversity Task Force has rated the 20 largest law firms in Dallas in terms of diversity. Eighteen of those 20 firms were issued an ‘F’ for diversity and the remaining two firms were issued a’ C-plus’ for diversity. The report, named the ’2012 Law Firm Diversity Report,’ discovered that just one percent of the 840 equity partners at the big firms are black and that 13 of those firms have no African-American partners. Nine of the firms have no Hispanic partners.
At the 20 largest firms in Dallas, 12 percent of all the attorneys working there are minority lawyers. This number is an 8 percent increase from six years ago. The study is conducted annually by members of the Dallas Asian-American Bar Association, the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association and the J.L. Turner Legal Association.
The two law firms located in Dallas that received passing grades were Weil, Gotshal & Manges and K&L Gates. Close to 22 percent of the attorneys working at Weil are minorities, according to the study. At Gates, 17 percent of the lawyers are minorities.
“We work very hard at improving diversity,” said Cynthia Ohlenforst, a partner from K&L Gates. Ohlenforst is also the head of diversity at the firm. “If firms don’t make it a priority, then they will never achieve it.”
The results are taken from measurements that calculate composite scores measuring the law firms’ efforts to recruit diverse lawyers, retain those lawyers and then promote those lawyers.