The LawyerMetrix Diversity Imperative

Evan Parker, Ph.D.

This is the time of year when the legal industry is talking about “How the numbers have changed” with respect to diversity.  It is a short conversation; they haven’t.  According to the 2017 NALP Report on Diversity In U.S. Law Firms, the numbers have remained flat since 2009. There is little to learn from talking about the How – it has no power.

Meanwhile, in the corporate world, evidence continues to mount that a diverse workforce drives bottom-line profitability.  Diversity Matters, a study published by McKinsey in February of 2015, found a statistically significant relationship between a more diverse leadership team and better financial performance.  Companies in the top quartile of gender diversity were 15% more likely to have financial returns above the national industry median.  Companies in the top quartile of racial/ethnic diversity were 35% more likely to have financial returns above the national industry median. Conversely, companies in the bottom quartiles lagged far behind the average performers.

Over the coming months, the LawyerMetrix Diversity Imperative will shift the conversation from How to Why – that is, why we don’t see progress.  We will use our first-in-class, proprietary industry dataset to weigh in on the conversation, to establish the link between diversity and profitability in law firms and to uncover possible obstacles to creating a more diverse work environment. LawyerMetrix will unleash the power of Why.

In our first post, we will demonstrate that - all things being equal – partners at firms with greater diversity take home significantly more money.

Subsequent posts will explore reasons why diversity at the AmLaw 200 has stagnated since 2009 despite the introduction of countless industry-wide diversity initiatives including: ABA resolution 113, the increase in appointment of Diversity and Inclusion Officers and the efforts to drive change led by organizations like Leadership Council For Legal Diversity, a LawyerMetrix Partner in Diversity.  LawyerMetrix will use data to demonstrate the impact of geography, the law school recruiting pipeline, utilization of diverse attorneys and the effect of “mirrortocracy” on a firm’s ability to recruit, retain, promote and realize the benefits of a diverse workforce.

Watch for upcoming LawyerMetrix Diversity Imperative posts and contact us to learn how your firm’s diversity metrics stack up against your competitors.