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by Travis Whitsitt | April 07, 2022


In our last post, Part 1, we detailed the findings in Section 1 of the Vault Law 2021 Diversity Survey report pertaining to firm policies, efforts, and initiatives in the DEI space. Today, we will walk through the key findings from Part 2, going over current law firm demographics.

Women make up 47% of associates at the average law firm, but representation declines as we move up the ladder. Women account for 37% of counsel/of counsel roles, 31% of non-equity partners, and 23% of equity partners. Women make up 56% of 2L summer associates and 47% of all new attorneys. 42% of attorneys promoted to partner in calendar year 2020 (the period covered by this survey) were women. However, the drop in representation is notably more severe when considering women of color, who represent 15% of all associates, 7% of counsel/of counsel roles, 6% of non-equity partners, and only 3% of equity partners.

Minority lawyers make up 27% of associates, 13% of counsel/of counsel roles, 13% of non-equity partners, and 10% of equity partners. To emphasize the contrast, white/Caucasian attorneys make up 72% of associates, 86% of counsel/of counsel roles, 86% of non-equity partners, and 90% of equity partners. Minority lawyers make up 35% of 2L summer associates, 30% of all new hires, and 18% of newly promoted partners.

Openly LGBTQ+ attorneys are 5% of the associate population, 8% of the summer associate population, and under 3% each of counsel/of counsel roles, non-equity partners, and equity partners. Lawyers with disabilities make up 1.6% of associates, 1.9% of counsel/of counsel roles, 2.5% of non-equity partners, and 1.3% of equity partners. It is important to note that the likelihood of having a disability increases dramatically with age.

That covers all of the main findings from the 2021 survey. Our next post will analyze these findings and discuss what they might mean.