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by Vault Law Editors | February 25, 2021


Increasing racial and ethnic diversity has become a primary focus within the legal industry, and the conversation has been especially at the forefront in the wake of the social justice movement sparked by the death of George Floyd. While progress has been slow going overall—nearly 90 percent of law firm partners are white and just 2 percent of equity partners are Black, according to the 2020 Vault/MCCA Law Firm Diversity Survey—many firms have prioritized their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. And some really stand out—especially to their own associates.

In Vault’s recent Annual Associate Survey, we asked law firm associates to provide feedback regarding diversity at their firms. Associates shared myriad initiatives and programs, including community partnerships and pro bono projects; affinity groups, task forces, DEI committees, and diversity officers; antiracism and implicit bias trainings; and mentorship and sponsorship programs.

Associates also rated their own firms’ efforts to foster diversity with respect to racial and ethnic diversity. From these results, we compiled Vault’s 2021 Ranking of Best Law Firms for Racial and Ethnic Diversity.

Vault spoke to some of the top-ranked firms for Racial and Ethnic Diversity to learn more about their efforts and the impressive strides they have made. In the videos below, hear firsthand about how these firms are supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion within their firms and beyond.

Ropes & Gray

Ropes & Gray was a founding member of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance. Last year, the firm conducted more than 25 small group “listening sessions” to give attorneys and staff the space to share how they were impacted by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. These discussions led to the creation of the firm’s Racial Equity and Inclusion Task Force. Watch the following video to learn more about racial and ethnic diversity at Ropes & Gray.


Littler Mendelson

Littler takes part in a number of external and internal social justice initiatives. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, the firm made contributions to organizations like the NAACP and the Equal Justice Initiative. The firm also hired four interns through the National Bar Association’s Black Lawyers Matter Internship program. Internally, the firm focuses on pro bono matters to combat racial and social injustices. Watch the following video to learn more about racial and ethnic diversity at Littler.


Goodwin Procter

Goodwin is especially proud of its success in increasing diversity at the top of the firm’s pipeline, including at the partnership level and through lateral recruiting. This is in the wake of the firm’s decision to restructure its hiring and review processes, partnership elevation decisions, and allocation policies to be in line with anti-bias and equity concepts. Watch the following video to learn more about racial & ethnic diversity at Goodwin.


Sheppard Mullin

Last year, Sheppard Mullin launched its Inclusive Engagement Task Force to focus on racial justice issues and to increase staff engagement around D&I issues.  In one pro bono initiative, two of the firm’s partners have worked on the issue of equitable policing by launching the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (“ABLE”) program in partnership with Georgetown Law. Watch the following video to learn more about racial and ethnic diversity at Sheppard Mullin.


Congratulations to these and all of our top-ranked firms for Racial and Ethnic Diversity. To view the 2021 Best Law Firms for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, click here


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