For the first time, women now make up the majority of law firm associates in the United States, according to a new report from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP).
In its annual Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firm, the NALP, an association of legal professionals who advise law students, lawyers, law offices and law school in North America, said women are more represented at the partnership level, but progress in that space lags behind that of associates, with just 28% of partners being women.
The report also indicated that people of color have advanced at the partnership level, but progress that has also lagged behind similar progress at the associate level. People of color comprise just 12% of all partners. According to the report, 50% of associates are women and 30% are people of color.
Last year saw the largest increase in the percentage of associates of color, according to the findings. For the first time, Black and Latina women each accounted for at least 1% of all partners. Overall, women of color still account for less than 5% of partners.
With women on the rise in the legal profession, check out more information on a few trending legal jobs and the qualifications needed to enter that profession.
Cited as one of the highest-paying jobs in the legal profession, corporate lawyers make an average of $132,416 per year working to ensure the legality of commercial transactions. Working as a corporate lawyer requires a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline, such as business, political science of economics. Indeed recommends completing an internship at a local law firm or government office before earning a juris doctor degree from a law school. Once you’ve passed the bar exam and are licensed in your state, you can network with peers or other lawyers to secure a job in corporate law.
A patent attorney has expertise in intellectual property law and works to protect the rights of property owners or investors. Patent attorneys make an average of $140,828 per year and focus their work on building an extensive knowledge base about the requirements of getting a patent and the repercussion of infringing upon on.
The requirements for becoming a patent lawyer are similar to those for following the corporate law path. In addition to going to law school and passing the bar exam, those interest in becoming a patent attorney must register with the US Patent and Trademark Office and consider taking further educational courses to focus on your area of specialization.
A family lawyer is focused on working with members of the same family to manage legal issues such as divorce, adoption or estates. Family lawyers make, on average, 127,745 per year, according to Indeed. In addition to getting your law degree and license, family lawyers must also earn further continuing education credits to keep their licenses up to date. Family lawyers require skills in analytical thinking, communication, empathy and organization, and pursuing further education could help hone those skills.
For those who do not want to actively practice law or work in a courtroom, law degrees can be very useful for providing journalists with specialized skills to report on crimes and political events. Journalists make, on average, $45,612 per year, according to Indeed. Journalists report on news of the day by reviewing public records, interviewing witnesses and attending local events. Those interested in becoming a legal reporter may pursue a law degree and a bachelors degree in communications. Or may work their way up to being a legal reporter by starting out as an intern in a news organization.
Managing partners work at law firms and establish and enforce policies for the firm. On average, managing partners make $79,756 per year, according to Indeed. These partners run programs such as orientation, training and counseling and manage the firm’s overall operations. The National Law Review reports that law firms typically promote senior lawyers from within the firm after a certain number of years of service and provide additional compensation to partners such as profit share.