Following what turned out to be an unpredictable but ultimately profitable year for the entire legal services industry in 2020, net employment of lawyers and support staff has remained relatively stable year over year. the other in and around Greater Cleveland, according to an analysis of Crain’s 2021 Law Firms list.
Diversity among lawyers in the sector has improved slightly, however, albeit from a fairly low base.
There are just under 3,000 lawyers (2,979) working for 77 Northeast Ohio law firms on the full digital list (the list also first appeared in the 16 August from Crain’s Cleveland Business). This is only 11 lawyers less than what has been reported at this point in 2020.
Partners represent 55% of this group (1,647 lawyers).
The 10 largest firms represent about 40% of these lawyers.
The biggest actors remain the same as in the past and consist of outfits like Jones Day, BakerHostetler, Benesch, Tucker Ellis and Thompson Hine.
Although still at the top of the list, Jones Day and Baker have both reduced their bench of lawyers in this region by about 16% over the past decade.
Benesch and Tucker Ellis, on the other hand, rose 47% and 33%, respectively, over the same period.
Thompson Hine is actually flat, having declined by three lawyers over the past 10 years.
In terms of demographics, the entire group of lawyers analyzed is made up of 70% men and 30% women.
Among the firm’s partners, 78% are men and 22% are women.
Women gained one percentage point compared to men compared to 2020 in associate and full lawyer groups.
On the diversity front, individuals identified as minorities represent 6% of the full lawyer class – the same as last year – and 5% of partners. The latter represents an increase of one percentage point compared to 2020.
But that doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. The 77 firms on the list added 17 minority lawyers (an increase of 9.7%) and 11 minority partners (an increase of 16.7%), but in each case, this is an increase from a small base. Thus, they still represent a very small part of the lawyers and partners on the list.
Ethnic and gender diversity has long been a problem in the ranks of law firms. Making improvements is an issue that legal service providers continue to grapple with.
So the Northeast Ohio market is certainly not alone in this case, although the demographics there are poorer than in the industry as a whole.
According to a February report of the National Association for Legal Placement, lawyers working in law firms were 37% female and 18% diverse in 2020. Among the firm’s partners, 25% were women and 10% were diverse, according to NALP.