Kudos to Haynes Boone for its awesomely diverse new partners class. Only snag: No new Black partners.
The year is still young but I’m betting that Haynes Boone will win the 2022 grand prize for having the most diverse new partnership class in Big Law.
Maybe I’m jumping the gun but I can’t think of any Big Law firm that will beat these statistics: A new partnership class that’s composed of 62% racial and ethnic minorities and 69% women. The firm calls its new class of 13 partners, “the most diverse in the firm’s history.”
There might come a time when this won’t be news, when no one will bat an eyelash that people of color and women are in the majority of a new class of partners in Big Law. Alas, that’s not the state of reality.
According to the latest National Association for Law Placement’s diversity report, based on 2021 data, women represent just 25.9% of all partners (equity and non-equity) while people of color are even further behind—accounting for only 10.75% of all partners. Though the numbers for women partners at Haynes (26%) track NALP’s statistics, the firm is ahead of the game when it comes to partners of color (17%).
So how did a Dallas-based firm beat out its Blue-state competitors on the diversity front?
“Diversity reflects a longstanding commitment,” says Taylor Wilson, the firm’s managing partner, adding that the make-up of the new class “is not a surprise.” He explains that the firm formally made diversity a top priority in its strategic plan in 2018: “We wrote in our plan that we will be a market leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion. It caused us to do more than state good intentions.”
Sharon Jones, Haynes Boone’s director of diversity and a labor/employment partner at the firm, adds: “We are proud that 85% of the partnership class started here—which means we hired a diverse class from the start, retained them, and developed them. Being able to do that over that amount of time is a significant achievement.”
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