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Law Firms in Philadelphia Lack in Minority Lawyer Numbers

The National Association of Law Placement has released its annual diversity data and it says that Philadelphia is on track with national data regarding women in the legal industry, but trails when it comes to ethnic minorities, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.

In the women associate category, Philadelphia was above the national numbers with a rate of 47.4 percent compared to 45 percent nationally. Summer associate numbers also beat the national numbers by a rate of 50 percent to 46 percent. In the total women attorney category, Philadelphia came in with a rate of 34.7 percent while the nation came in at 32.6 percent. In the category of women partners, Philadelphia came in at 19.3 percent while the nation came in at 19.9 percent.

For minority lawyers, Philadelphia came in at 3.59 percent compared to 6.71 percent nationally. The associate category in Philadelphia is 13.8 percent compared to 20.3 percent across the country. The category of total minority lawyers in Philadelphia hit 8.9 percent while the nation hit 12.91 percent. Philadelphia has the access though, with 33 percent of all summer associates being minorities. That number is compared to 29.5 percent across the country.

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The data shows that Philadelphia is not having any trouble recruiting minority lawyers, but is having trouble retaining them for the long haul. Recruiting minority lawyers has improved since the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group created a summer associate program for minority law students a couple of years ago.

The executive director of NALP, James Leipold, said, “This is a significant and troubling trend. While the percentage of women partners, small as it is, has continued to grow, that incremental growth will likely become unsustainable if the percentage of women associates continues to inch downward.”

“The 2012 data suggest that the temporary setback for minority representation brought on by recession-era layoffs has been effectively reversed but that the decline in the representation of women among associates has not been stemmed. The continued loss of women from the associate ranks, at a time when far too few women make up the partners of U.S. law firms, is a problem that firms must begin to address head-on.”

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