2015 Panel Presentation and Event

The 2015 Law Firm Diversity Report will be released prior to our 10th Anniversary Diversity Event and Presentation on October 6, 2015 at the Belo Mansion at noon. It is available now online.

The event will feature panelists such as: Chris Luna (Chief Counsel, Metro PCS); Hon. Tonya Parker (Judge Presiding, 116th Civil District Court, Dallas County), and Frank Stevenson (President-Elect, Texas State Bar). The event will include an awards presentation celebrating law firms that have shown a commitment to diversity over the past 10 years of the Report.

For more information about the event, please email dallasdiversitytaskforce@gmail.com.

2015 Executive Summary & Progress Report

The 2015 Law Firm Diversity Report (“2015 Report”) prepared by the Dallas Diversity Task Force (“Task Force”) presents a snapshot of the diversity of lawyers practicing at the twenty largest law firms in Dallas County, Texas. The Task Force surveyed the twenty largest law firm offices in Dallas County based on information reported by the Dallas Business Journal. There are two new additions this year to the list of surveyed firms: Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Sidley Austin LLP. One hundred percent of the twenty largest law firm offices in Dallas County participated in the survey this year.

The 2015 Report provides composite scores that measure racial or ethnic minority attorney representation at the surveyed firms. The methodology for calculating the firms’ composite scores based on racial or ethnic minorities remains unchanged from previous years. A firm’s composite score is based on a firm’s number of racial or ethnic 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 or ethnic composition of the members of the State Bar of Texas (“Texas Lawyer Demographics”).

The 2015 Report also includes checklist scores that measure the firms’ efforts to recruit, retain, and promote minority attorneys. Continuing the progress made in last year’s report, the checklist scores also reflect each firm’s efforts as related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) and women 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 ten years of data to use as points of comparison, the 2015 Report provides an opportunity to evaluate Dallas firms’ progress over time. Eleven firms raised their composite scores from 2014 to 2015. Based on 2015 results: (i) two law firms met the lower benchmark of Texas Lawyer Demographics and (ii) no firm met the higher benchmark of Texas Demographics.

Notable Developments

-Eleven firms improved their composite scores from 2014 to 2015. Of these firms, four improved their composite score by more than five points.

-The 2015 average composite score for the largest law firms in Dallas County had a slight increase in comparison to 2014. The average composite score for 2015 is 50.32 compared to the 2014 average composite score of 48.87.

-90% of participating firms reported interviewing at racial or ethnic minority job fairs, 75% reported interviewing at LGBT job fairs, and 20% reported interviewing at women focused job fairs. 50% of the participating firms reported hiring from a minority job fair.

-100% of participating firms reported providing health care benefits to same-sex partners or spouses on economic par with health care benefits offered to non-LGBT attorneys.

-Of the 19 firms that responded to the question, 100% of the firms reported providing paid maternity leave of at least 12 weeks, and 37% reported providing up to 18 weeks.

Other Developments

-The composite scores for four firms decreased from 2014 to 2015. Five firms did not have 2014 data to compare against because they: (i) did not participate last year or (ii) were new to the survey this year.

-50 of the 726 equity partners at the surveyed firms are racial and ethnic minority lawyers (just below 7%). For comparison, racial and ethnic minority attorneys comprise approximately 13% of the total attorneys at these firms and approximately 17% of the State Bar.

-10% percent of the firms surveyed have no racial or ethnic minority equity partners at all, 55% have no African-American/Black equity partners, 50% have no Asian/Asian-American equity partners, 55% have no Hispanic/Latino equity partners, and 65% have no Native American equity partners. While all the firms surveyed have women equity partners, only K & L Gates LLP and Sidley Austin LLP equaled or exceeded the percentage of women lawyers in Dallas County, which is approximately 34%.

Attrition Data

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

-Of the 16 firms that responded to attrition questions, the data shows that 17% of all attorneys who ceased employment with the firms were racial or ethnic minority attorneys.

-Of the total attorneys who ceased employment with the firms, the data shows 33% were women attorneys.

Selected Individual Firm Highlights

-Jones Day holds the highest composite score for this year (72.58).

-Baker Botts L.L.P. has the most improved composite score, increasing its score from 2014 by more than 13 points (37.15 to 50.80).

-In addition to Baker Botts L.L.P., Andrews Kurth LLP, Jackson Walker LLP, and Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, L.L.P. improved their composite scores by more than five points.

-Thompson & Knight LLP had the largest decrease in composite score with a decrease of almost 12 points.

For the complete 2015 report, click here.

For inquiries please contact dallasdiversitytaskforce@gmail.com

Dallas Diversity Task Force Participating Organizations

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/)

The Dallas Gay and Lesbian Bar Association ("DGLBA") is composed of lawyers, law students, para-professionals, and related professional allies who share an interest in the laws that affect and protect the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community. The DGLBA holds monthly luncheon meetings for its members where speakers provide continuing legal education on a broad range of topics affecting lawyers who represent LBGT clients. It also issues a monthly newsletter to approximately 200 subscribers on current topics of interest in LGBT law and the community. The DGLBA also holds networking events, gives scholarships to deserving law students, profiles its members on its website, and educates and promotes legal issues affecting the LGBT community. (http://www.dglba.org)

The Dallas Women Lawyers Association ("DWLA") is a non-profit organization uniting for the mutual benefit of women attorneys and to elevate the standing of women in the legal profession. In 1968, a group of women attorneys in Dallas began to meet regularly to prepare programs and activities for the ABA Convention to be held in Dallas in 1969. After their success at the ABA Convention, the group continued to meet informally for mutual support. Founding members include Louise Raggio, Judge Sarah T. Hughes and Joann Peters. From these early meetings emerged the Dallas Women Lawyers Association. By 1980, DWLA was meeting for regular monthly luncheons at the Belo Mansion. In 1984, DWLA incorporated as a non-profit corporation, and included in its purposes uniting for the mutual benefit of women attorneys and elevating the standards of women in the profession. (http://www.dallaswomenlawyers.org)