Dallas Diversity Task Force

2013 Executive Summary & Progress Report

 

The 2013 Law Firm Diversity Report ("2013 Report") prepared by the Dallas Diversity Task Force ("Task Force") presents a snapshot of the racial and ethnic diversity of lawyers practicing at the 20 largest law firms in Dallas County.  The Task Force surveyed the 20 largest law firm offices in Dallas County, Texas, based on information reported by the Dallas Business Journal.  The list of surveyed firms in 2013 is the same as it was in 2011 and 2012.   Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C. chose not to participate this year.

The 2013 Report provides composite scores that measure minority attorney representation at the surveyed firms.  The methodology for calculating the firms' composite scores remains unchanged from previous years.  A firm's composite score is based on a firm's number of minority attorneys, depth (i.e., number of equity partners vs. other attorneys), and breadth (i.e., diversity across minority groups).  The composite score measures firms against two benchmarks:  the population of the State of Texas ("Texas Demographics") and the racial and ethnic composition of the members of the State Bar of Texas ("Texas Lawyer Demographics").

The 2013 Report also includes checklist scores that measure the firms' diversity efforts to recruit, retain, and promote minority attorneys.  A firm's checklist score is based on a checklist of diversity efforts that a firm undertook during the survey period.  A firm's checklist score is not used in calculating its composite score.

With eight years of data, the 2013 Report provides an opportunity to evaluate Dallas firms' progress over time.  Based on 2013 results, (i) no law firm exceeded the lower benchmark of Texas Lawyer Demographics and (ii) no firm met the higher benchmark of Texas Demographics.

Notable Developments

-Nine firms improved their composite scores from 2012 to 2013.

-The 2013 average composite score for the largest law firms in Dallas County remained relatively constant compared to 2012 with the average composite score for 2012 at 49.84 and 2013 at 49.36.  The relatively constant composite score comes after an increased composite score between 2011 and 2012 (46.88 in 2011 and 49.0 in 2012) and after three years of declining composite scores (51.6 in 2009, 50.01 in 2010 and 46.88 in 2011).

-95% of participating firms reported interviewing at minority job fairs. Unlike 2012, when 46% of the firms reported hiring from a minority job fair, only 26% reported doing so in 2013(down 19 points from 2012 and 4 points from 2011).

Other Developments

-The composite scores for nine firms decreased from 2012 to 2013.

-None of the responding firms met or exceeded the Texas Lawyer Demographics for: (i) African-Americans/Blacks (continuing the downward trend from three firms in 2010 and one firm in 2011) and (ii) Hispanic/Latino attorneys.

-Just 48 (approximately 6%) of the 799 equity partners at the surveyed firms are minority lawyers, a significant decline from 2012 numbers and percentages, despite minority attorneys comprising almost 12% of the total attorneys at these firms and more than 16% of the State Bar.

-16% percent of the firms surveyed have no minority equity partners at all, 68% have no African-American/Black equity partners, 47% have no Asian-American equity partners, 42% have no Hispanic/Latino equity partners, and 74% have no Native American equity partners.  The percentage applicable to each ethnic minority group is within a couple of percentage points from what was reported last year.

Attrition Data

Since 2010, the Firm Efforts Checklist included questions regarding attorney attrition at the largest 20 Dallas County firms, to determine whether efforts to retain minority attorneys have been successful.  All but five firms responded to these questions.  Although the Task Force is not releasing the complete attrition data, a few summary highlights include the following:

-In a reversal from 2012, of the 14 firms that responded, the data shows that minority attorneys ceased employment at a higher rate than other non-minority attorneys (18% of all minority attorneys vs. 11% of all non-minority attorneys).

-Turnover in associate ranks continue to be higher than that of partners (21% of associates vs. 14.5% of equity partners).  Similar to last year, but significantly more pronounced this year, minority partners terminated employment at a higher rate than non-minority partners, with a very high turnover of almost 21% for minority partners (vs. almost 9% of non-minority partners).

-16 of the firms that responded had no turnover of minority partners while five of the firms that responded had no turnover of minority associates during the relevant time frame, from June 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013.

Selected Individual Firm Highlights

-Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP holds the highest composite score for the last three consecutive years, though as reported, it did not exceed the benchmark of Texas Lawyer Demographics.

-Strasburger & Price, LLP has the most improved composite score, increasing its score from 2012 by almost 14 points.

-Andrews Kurth, LLP improved its score by more than 11 points.

-Hunton & Williams, LLP had the largest decrease in composite score (more than 13 points), followed by K & L Gates, LLP (approximately 10 points).

 

For the complete 2013 report, click here.

 

For the 2012 report, click here.

For the 2011 report, click here.

For the 2010 report, click here.

For the 2009 report, click here.

For the 2008 report, click here.

For the 2007 report, click here.

For the 2006 report, click here.

Comments? comments@diversitytaskforce.com 

 

Dallas Diversity Task Force Participating Organizations

Formed at the suggestion of the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, the Task Force is comprised of representatives from the Dallas Asian American Bar Association, the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, and the J.L. Turner Legal Association (the African American bar association of Dallas County).  Working together, and by consensus, representatives from each organization contribute different perspectives and histories toward the end of increasing the recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion of attorneys of color in Dallas.

The Task Force recognizes that racial and ethnic minorities are but one category of diversity, and that tracking and evaluating the progress of other minority-lawyer groups, such as women and GLBT lawyers, is important.  Accordingly, the Task Force has offered to share our work with other groups interested in crafting a study of other types of diversity.  The Task Force, however, again chose to focus on racial and ethnic representation to spotlight the Dallas law firms' efforts, failures, and successes in hiring and retaining attorneys of color.  We sincerely hope that this report encourages future studies on other aspects of diversity in the Dallas legal community.

The Dallas Asian American Bar Association ("DAABA") was founded in 1988 to promote the interests of Asian American attorneys and the Asian American community.  DAABA provides marketing and networking opportunities for its members, mentoring programs for law students and pro bono legal assistance for Asian Americans.  DAABA is a chapter of the National Asian/Pacific American Bar Association.   (http://www.daaba.org/)

The Dallas Hispanic Bar Association ("DHBA") began as an informal association in 1969 and was formally organized as the Mexican-American Bar Association of Dallas in 1978.  Its membership includes attorneys practicing in Dallas and the surrounding areas, judges, law students and non-lawyers who join as associate members.  The DHBA aims to provide legal services to the Hispanic community, to enrich and ensure the success of its members in the legal profession in Dallas, and to actively become involved in issues affecting the Hispanic community.  The DHBA is an affiliate of the Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas and the Hispanic National Bar Association.   (http://www.dallashispanicbar.com/)

Founded in 1952, J.L. Turner Legal Association ("JLTLA"), is the African American bar association in Dallas, Texas.  It is also an affiliate chapter of the National Bar Association, the nation's oldest and largest national association of predominately African American lawyers and judges.  JLTLA is an organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life in the African American community through education, service, and scholarship.  JLTLA members provide legal assistance to indigent residents in the North Texas area, provide scholarships to law students demonstrating financial or other needs, provide attorney mentors for law students, perform educational and other community outreach projects for North Texas area residents, and assist our members and the community in seeking African American attorneys who practice in the various areas of law. (http://www.jltla.org/)