Local law firms say attracting, keeping minorities a challenge

The face of metro Detroit’s private law community is overwhelmingly white despite being one of the nation’s most ethnically diverse regions.

A December study by the National Association for Law Placement places metro Detroit law firms well below the national average in diversity, but local lawyers say it’s a struggle to find and retain minority attorneys.

Of the eight metro Detroit firms and 1,110 lawyers in the December study, only 7.1 percent were a minority, compared to the national average of 13.4 percent.

Metro Detroit falls behind many cities with similar demographics in the category of employing minority lawyers, such as Washington, D.C., at 14.5 percent; Houston at 14.6 percent; Atlanta at 11.8 percent and Baltimore at 7.3 percent.

Julie Savarino, managing director at Ann Arbor-based legal marketing and placement firm Business Development Inc., called the lack of diversity in the region’s legal community embarrassing.

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