State Bar publishes first annual report card on the diversity of California’s legal profession

‘Report card’

The State Bar’s “First Annual Report Card on the Diversity of California’s Legal Profession,” (PDF) provides baseline data on the diversity and workplace satisfaction of California’s attorney population across multiple demographic groups and employment sectors. The report brings into stark reality that despite significant growth in the proportion of attorneys who are women and people of color over the past 30 years, California’s attorney population remains far from reflective of the state’s diversity.

Among the Report Card’s key findings:

  • White attorneys account for nearly 70 percent of California’s active licensed attorney population, while people of color constitute 60 percent of the state’s population.
  • Latinos are particularly underrepresented in California’s legal profession, accounting for a mere 7 percent of active attorneys.
  • In the last three decades, the proportion of new attorneys who are Asian or multiracial has more than tripled, and the proportion of new Latino attorneys has doubled, but the proportion of new attorneys who are Black has remained stagnant.
  • Nearly three-quarters of California attorneys work in the private sector. Increasing the diversity of this sector alone will have a transformative impact on the profession.
  • The government and nonprofit sectors, which together make up only 17 percent of the profession, are the most diverse, but women and people of color remain underrepresented at leadership levels in these sectors.
  • Women, people of color, LGBTQIA+, and people with disabilities consistently report lower levels of satisfaction with workplace experiences, such as salary and opportunities for advancement and career development, than their white male counterparts.

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 California Bar Exam Strategies and Stories Program

An online learning program designed to help applicants prepare for the California Bar Exam is showing promising results, measurably increasing the likelihood of passing the exam, a two-year analysis indicates.  Researchers found that the California Bar Exam Strategies and Stories Program increased the likelihood of participants passing the bar exam ranging between 6.8 to 9.6 percentage points, controlling for other factors. The impact was even higher for applicants in disadvantaged groups, including those in underrepresented racial/ethnic populations and those who are first-generation college students.

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