NALP released figures regarding women and minorities at law firms across the country and the data shows that numbers changed just slightly during 2012, according to The National Law Journal. The figures show that for a third year in a row the percentage of women associates dropped slightly. Also, the number of minority group members and women employed at law firms increased.
NALP started tracking this data back in 1993. Of all associates in law firms, women accounted for 45.05 percent, which is just the third time since NALP started recording the data that the number dropped. The percentage was at 45.35 in 2011.
In 2011, women represented 19.54 percent of partners at law firms. In 2012, the number hit 19.91, a very slight increase. For members of minority groups, the percentage of partners came in at 6.71 percent in 2012, which is an increase from the 6.56 percent in 2011.
NALP released the data on Thursday and is based on surveys of 1,209 law firms across the United States who belong to the NALP Directory of Legal Employers. The offices range in employment figures from less than 100 attorneys to over 700 attorneys at the firms.
The survey tracked minorities and women and it discovered a tiny increase in those attorneys amongst all attorney jobs at law firms in 2012. As a whole, minorities accounted for 12.91 percent of lawyers, including partners, in the law firm offices for 2012. That number was at 12.70 in 2011. According to Beth Kaufman, the president for the National Association of Women Lawyers, said that the decline in women associates shows a change in thinking amongst women.
“Every year we see a big drop-off in the number of women at law firms after seven or eight years of practice,” she said. “This is starting to influence the pipeline. They’re asking themselves, ‘If I’m not going to advance and I’m not going to make as much money, is this a profession where I want to be?’ “