Diversity rankings

May 11, 2009
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The Minority Law Journal released its annual diversity scorecard for the 250 largest and highest-grossing law firms in the country and the three Indiana firms on the list ended up closer to the bottom than the top in their rankings.

Baker & Daniels and Barnes & Thornburg were close on the list, coming in at 175 and 177 respectively. Ice Miller cracked the top-200 at 199.

Just like U.S. News and World Report, Minority Law Journal changed its methodology this year, leading to dramatic jumps or drops for some firms. The journal added each responding firm’s percentage of minority attorneys to its percentage of minority partners to come up with the firm’s diversity score. Previously, it just counted how many total minority attorneys were at the firm.

It’s worth a note that not every firm contacted by the journal participated, including Taft Stettinius & Hollister. The complete listings and methodology can be found here.

According to the survey, a little more than 6 percent of all of Baker & Daniels U.S. attorneys are minorities; 5 percent are partners. Barnes & Thornburg has a bigger percentage of minority U.S. attorneys at 7.6 percent, but has 3.4 percent as partners. Ice Miller faired the lowest of the three Indiana firms on the list, with 5.7 percent of all U.S. attorneys being minorities and 1.7 percent of partners being minorities.

In terms of the diversity of the diversity, again, Baker had the most with at least one partner represented from each of the listed minorities in the survey: African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American, and other minority/those who identify themselves as multiracial. Barnes & Thornburg has African-American and Asian-American partners and Ice Miller has African-American partners.

So what does this all mean? As always, you have to take these surveys with a grain of salt. It’s hard to compare an Indiana firm to one in California or New York, which typically has a more diverse population and larger cities. In fact, the top firms on this list come from San Francisco, Irvine, Calif., New York City, and Los Angeles. The number one ranked firm is from Palo Alto, Calif. Firms that came in with comparable or lower rankings than the Indiana firms typically were in markets of comparable or smaller sizes than Indianapolis, where all three Indiana firms are based.

But that doesn’t mean our firms can’t learn from their rankings and use it as another tool to increase diversity here. Indiana firms still have a way to go until they are more representative of the general population. Granted, there are typically more white attorneys than other races here; however, they are more minority attorneys than what is represented by the partner ranks in our state’s firms, or even the associate numbers.

Bottom line is Indiana firms aren’t the worst in the country but we still have room for improvement.
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  • I disagree that these types of surveys should be taken with a grain of salt. I think there are valid reasons as to why the three Indiana firms noted in the survey are at the bottom of the list, and I don\'t think you can dismiss those reasons by citing how other cities have more diverse populations. Indianapolis has a sufficient number of minority attorneys for these firms to have better diversity numbers. This is evident by looking at the recruiting results of these firms, as at least two of these firms have had a critical mass of diverse attorneys in recent years. However, the problem is that although the firms do a decent job of recruiting diverse attorneys, they fail to implement measures to retain these attorneys. Perhaps firms in more diverse cities do a better job of retaining diverse attorneys because those firms have a culture that is more accepting and inclusive of diverse attorneys, rather than a culture that perpetrates the good \'ole boys club, as is the case with many Indianapolis firms.

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

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