Friday, October 18, 2019
Law.com, Minority Partners Disproportionately Placed in Nonequity Partnership Tier:
Minority lawyers disproportionately occupy the nonequity partnership tier of the nation’s largest-grossing law firms compared to their white colleagues.
An American Lawyer analysis of 148 firms with two-tiered partnership structures, 131 of which ranked in this year’s Am Law 200, shows that minority lawyers are not only more likely to have nonequity partnership status, but that they are moving into the nonequity tier at triple the rate of white lawyers. The analysis is based on five years of survey data.
The revelations come at a time when the push for diversity in law firms is placing more emphasis on the partnership level, which historically has meant equity and a seat at the table. But not all law firm partnerships are created equal: Law firms have been rapidly expanding a nonequity partnership tier. And while equity partners are more likely to have an opportunity to influence the direction of a firm and share directly in its profits, nonequity partners are not.