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New York Bar Association Pushes for Transparency, Diversity Initiatives
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Summary: The New York Bar Association has released a transparency report on diversity and female attorney staffing. 

A recent report has confirmed that law firms are still lacking when it comes to employing female and diverse attorneys. The New York City Bar Association has seen the dismal stats, and they have released a transparency report and made suggestions to help fix this problem.

  
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The report showed that women make up 19.7 percent of the survey-takers’ partners and that minority leadership was at 7.1 percent in 2015.

The New York Bar already produces an annual diversity report, but this year, the group requested specific data from firms. This year’s report includes a breakdown of attorneys by ethnicity, race, and gender; and according to Bloomberg Law, they requested a sign-off from each managing partner. This was to ensure accountability that upper management was aware of its firm’s diversity profile.

“We had been really frustrated with the fact that we are all talking about these issues and nothing was changing,” said Gabrielle Lyse Brown, director of diversity and inclusion.

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To help address the problem, The New York Bar Association urged firms to follow the leads of Paul Hastings, Norton Rose, Latham & Watkins and Cleary Gottlieb, and others which have women’s groups and diversity and inclusion initiatives in place. The organization also called for firms to hire someone purely to address how to increase women and diversity staffing.

“The law firms need to invest in a staff member — at least one — dedicated to moving forward the diversity efforts of the firm,” Brown said to Bloomberg Law. “It cannot be the burden of minority and women attorneys in the firm. They are already trying to build their practice, mentor and be the spokesperson for diversity efforts. You need someone in there being paid good money to keep the firm informed, action-oriented and be able to do the data intel and act on it.”



The report’s data came from a survey that polled 75 “signatory” law firms. The majority of those firms were from the top 200 law firms in the country, and each signatory pledged to a list of principles that showed a commitment to improving diversity.

Source: Bloomberg Law

Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons



 

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