Diversity in American law firm practices is increasing, but at a slow rate. ABA reported that in 2009, just 6% of law firm partners throughout the U.S. were Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, or mixed race. As of 2020, the percent of firms of color increased to 10.2%, which places Pittsburgh well below average.
The 2021 Profile of the Legal Profession gives current insight provided with statistics and data of the field of legal profession in 11 categories including demographics, effects of COVID-19, legal desert index, wages, legal education and more.
Pittsburgh has been rated one of the best and most livable cities to live for numerous years, but statistics for Black people, specifically Black women, and other minority groups, show otherwise.
PublicSource gathered information from the 2019 Gender Equity Commision report revealing that if Black people were to leave Pittsburgh, their quality of life would improve as life expectancy, employment, income, and educational opportunities would rise in other comparable cities.
An article from Bloomberg discusses findings from the Gender Equity Commission report about unemployment rates for Black men and women in Pittsburgh and states that Pittsburgh Black women have a higher percentage of unemployment than Black women in 97% of other similar cities.
The report also found that the employment gap between white and Black people is higher in Pittsburgh than 85% of other comparable cities.
“Pittsburgh’s strikingly low Black employment is likely not due to the city’s economy, but the failure of employers to hire black workers who are seeking jobs,” wrote the Gender Equity Commission in their 2019 report.
According to LegalMatch, there are over 7,000 lawyers in the greater Pittsburgh region, and of that, only 2.88% are a part of firms of color.
Allegheny County has also had accusations of racism within its legal system. On May 13, attorney Milton Raiford, a well known Black lawyer, made comments in an Allegheny County courtroom and showcased frustrations with what Raiford described as systemic racism in the county and said the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office was “systematically racist.” In a July letter, Allegheny County President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark acknowledged the systemic racism found within the courts and wrote that changes must be made in Allegheny County.