The most diverse legal employer in the federal government, as might be fitting, is the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, while the least is the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Defense, according to EEOC workplace statistics released this week.
The EEOC practices what it preaches when it comes to hiring lawyers. Of the agency’s 497 attorneys, 61 percent are white, 23 percent are black or African American, 8 percent are Hispanic or Latino, and 6 percent are Asian.
The EEOC also employes the highest percentage of lawyers with disabilities in the federal government - 2.4 percent. Men are actually under-represented among EEOC counsel, making up just 38 percent of agency lawyers.
At the other end of the spectrum, the 283 lawyers who work in Defense Department headquarters in the Office of the Secretary are overwhelmingly male (71 percent) and white (92 percent).
The statistics do not cover every federal workplace that employs lawyers, but rather the 12 agencies where “attorney” is one of the primary occupations for workers.
The Justice Department falls more or less in the middle. DOJ reported employing 10,709 “general attorneys,” 60 percent of them men and 84 percent of them white.
Of the 4,506 senior level officials (defined as supervisors paid at the GS15 or SES level — most of whom are also presumably lawyers), DOJ is somewhat more diverse. While 7 percent of line attorneys are black, 10 percent of supervisors are. For Hispanics, it’s 4 percent of line attorneys and 6 percent of supervisors. Asians are less represented in the upper ranks, dipping from 4 percent of line attorneys to 3 percent of bosses, while whites make up 80 percent of DOJ supervisors. Sixty-nine percent of supervisors are men.
According to the U.S. Census, white people in 2010 made up 72 percent of the U.S. population; black people were 13 percent; those of Hispanic or Latino origin (who may be of any race) were 16 percent and Asians were 5 percent.
Among other agencies, the Department of Education is almost as diverse as the EEOC. Education has the highest percentage of women lawyers -- 66 percent - of any federal agency. Of the agency’s 409 lawyers, 65 percent are white, 19 percent are black, and 6 percent are Hispanic.
Education and the Securities and Exchange Commission tie for employing the highest percentage of Asian lawyers — 8 percent. Of the SEC’s 1,652 lawyers, 81 percent are white, 7 percent are black, 4 percent are Hispanic and 58 percent are men.
The full EEOC report is available here.