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New Jersey firms made virtually no progress this past year in their efforts to improve gender and ethnic diversity, a New Jersey Law Journal survey shows.
Women made up 28.78 percent of total lawyers at the firms studied, slightly less than 29.43 percent last year. And minorities also dropped a tad, to 8.05 percent from 8.42 percent.
In raw numbers, there were 2.91 percent fewer women and 5.08 percent fewer minorities in the lawyer ranks of the 20 firms that made up the sampling in this year's and last year's survey. SEE CHART.
Women advanced in partnership by 4.23 percent while minorities stayed flat. But nonpartner positions suffered declines: 5.83 percent for women and 6.63 percent for minorities.
By comparison, total partnerships at the studied firms increased by 4.6 percent and total nonpartner positions fell by 5.6 percent.
The nonpartner population was flat or in decline at 17 of the 20 firms. Only Archer & Greiner of Haddonfield, Lowenstein Sandler of Roseland and Reed Smith of Princeton saw increases. But 14 firms posted gains in the partner population, all but Day Pitney in Parsippany; Drinker, Biddle & Reath in Florham Park; Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus of Bridgewater; Reed Smith of Princeton; Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti in Morristown; and Sills, Cummis & Gross of Newark.
Reed Smith of Princeton had the highest percentage of women partners among the group of firms studied (29 percent) while Lerner, David, Littenberg, Krumholz & Mentlik of Westfield had the lowest, at 3 percent. Reed Smith also had the highest representation of minorities among its partnership (17 percent) while Day Pitney had none.
The highest concentration of women nonpartners was at Drinker Biddle (48 percent), while Lerner David was the lowest (17 percent).
Among minority nonpartners, the highest concentration was at DeCotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole of Teaneck (25 percent) and Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis of Woodbridge had the lowest (5 percent).
This year's results -- with both minorities and women posting slight gains in partnership but losses in nonpartner jobs -- contrasts with last year, when minorities increased in partnership and nonpartner jobs over 2010, while women showed losses in both categories.