American Lawyer, Am Law Firms With Zero Black Partners—How Is This Possible in 2019?:
According to The American Lawyer’s latest Diversity Scorecard, this year’s winner for the top diversity prize has a superb record on diversity overall, but zero black partners! ...
[W]e’re not talking about some firm in Idaho where African Americans are scarce. No, we’re talking about a 371-lawyer firm with its primary office in New York: immigration giant Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy.
It was ranked No. 1 for its outstanding diversity record—nearly a third of all its lawyers (32.5%) and almost a quarter of its partners (23.9%) are minorities. Mighty impressive stats except for that no black partner thing. (The Diversity Scorecard pertains to U.S.-based lawyers.)
Of course, Fragomen is not the only firm in the Am Law 100 with no black partners. It has tony (the toniest?) company: Cravath, Swaine & Moore. (Cravath’s first and last black partner was Rowan Wilson, who left the firm in 2017 to become a judge on New York’s Court of Appeals.) And until the most recent round of partnership elections, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson was in that club too. ...
A number of firms, including Davis Polk & Wardwell, are on thin ice, having only one lone black partner. In fact, I combed through the diversity data and compiled a list of AmLaw 100 firms with 1% or less black partners—and here they are:
- Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati 1%
- Debevoise & Plimpton 1%*
- Fish & Richardson 0.5%
- Davis Polk & Wardwell 0.8%
- Haynes and Boone 0.4%
- Cravath, Swaine & Moore 0%
- Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher 1%*
- Mayer Brown 0.8%
- Davis Wright Tremaine 0.7%
- Williams & Connolly 1%
- Fried Frank 0%*
- Dorsey & Whitney 0.4%
( *Since the publication of Am Law’s 2019 diversity data, the firm has elected a new black partner.)