Attorneys at larger law firms are more satisfied with the treatment of lawyers from diverse backgrounds than lawyers at smaller firms, according to a newly released survey (.pdf) by the Cuban American Bar Association.
The survey asked attorneys about compensation, promotions, the complexity and importance of work assignments and client contact opportunities based on diversity.
Based on the results of the survey, CABA was to recognize Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod among firms with 50 of more attorneys and Kenny Nachwalter among firms with 20 to 49 attorneys at a reception this past Thursday night.
The goal of the survey was to identify which firms have greater success in making diversity a priority, said Coral Gables, Fla., attorney Nelson Bellido. He is chair of CABA's diversity committee and a partner with Concepcion, Sexton & Martinez.
"This is going to allow the firms to identify and prioritize certain diversity goals," he said. "What CABA is doing is [asking law firms], 'Are you walking the walk, or are you just talking?'"
Respondents overall were highly positive about diversity prospects and achievements at their firms. Attorneys who expressed no opinion generally outscored attorneys expressing negative sentiments about their firms.
Overall, attorneys at large firms appeared to be more satisfied than attorneys at smaller firms with the state of diversity at their firms.
A bigger percentage of attorneys from large firms, 17 percent, felt they were treated differently because of race, gender or sexual orientation than the 12 percent at medium-size firms.
When it came to the issue of pay equity, lawyers from larger firms seemed more satisfied with minority lawyer compensation than those at smaller firms. About 67 percent of large firm lawyers agreed that minority lawyers were as likely to receive raises as nonminority lawyers compared with 63 percent at smaller firms.
The question generating some of the highest negatives in the survey asked if minority and nonminority attorneys have an equal chance at leadership roles. About 11 percent of respondents at large firms and 10 percent at smaller firms did not see a level playing field.