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New Report Say NM, Nation Lacking in Women And Minority Attorneys

According to a State Bar of New Mexico report, the state and the rest of the country have a long way to go in bringing equity to the Justice profession.   

In a report presented Wednesday to state lawmakers, women make up 37-percent of practicing attorneys in the US but men outnumber women in equity partnership positions five to one.

Less than five-percent of practicing attorneys are African-Americans and ten percent fall into other minority categories. New Mexico’s numbers are a little better but not by much. 

Amanda Parker is director of the State Bar’s Equity in Justice Program. She told the Legislature’s Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee if current trends continue, it will take a long time to reach equitable numbers.

“At this rate, it’ll take 30 years for the demographics of the legal profession to reflect the demographics of today’s population, “ she said. “What I want you to think about when you see these kinds of statistics is that within equity and inclusion there is the  idea that if we just give it time, that we’re on the right track and in fact that is not something that is true. Usually there is progress, take back progress, take back. So that’s something to think about as how do we intervene in diversifying the profession.”

The report also shows that two-thirds of women in New Mexico’s legal community have postponed having children fearing it would be detrimental to their career and 63% reported experiencing discrimination, 86% because of their gender.

Nearly one-fourth of women overall reported they left a position due to discriminatory practices.

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.