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Business and Professional Ethics Journal

Volume 37, Issue 2/3, Summer-Fall 2018

KiKyung Song, EunYoung Whang
Pages 237-264
DOI: 10.5840/bpej201842471

Accounting Ratio Analyses of Inequality of Minority Lawyers

With the expansion of clientele’s demographics and international transactions, many law firms began to open doors to non-mainstreamers—minority lawyers to join the legal workforce. Decades have passed and the inequality in compensation between minority and non-minority attorneys is still one of the most controversial issues in the legal profession. Based on human capital and labor discrimination theory, we examine the productivity and compensation differences between minority attorneys and non-minority counterparts. The sample consists of 554 firm-year observations of the 200 largest U.S law firms from 2013 to 2016. We use OLS with clustered standard errors by year. We find minority partners are more likely to provide relatively routine and template-based services, which do not command fee premium, which results in low productivity of minority partners. We find that minority partners are compensated less than their non-minority counterparts after controlling for productivity. This paper aids in the understanding of diversity in the workplace and the effect of diversity on a firms’ productivity and the type of services to provide. Also, this paper has implications on the compensation gap between minorities and their non-minority counterparts.