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Law360 released its sixth annual Glass Ceiling Report, which surveyed 300 law firms on gender diversity and ranked firms based on the percentage of female equity partners in the United States. According to the report, women make up 36% of all attorneys and 25% of equity partners in law firms across the country. Firms with the highest levels of female equity partners tend to focus on building a clear pipeline to equity partnership for women and offer benefits like work schedule flexibility, mentorship programs and greater leadership opportunities in order to retain top-performing attorneys.

Among the 300 law firms surveyed, small firms (20-149 attorneys) had the highest percentage of female equity partners, including Sideman & Bancroft (63.6%), Culhane Meadows (60.0%), Brundo Testan (60.0%), Wilson Turner (55.6%) and Walsworth (50.0%).

For medium to large sized firms (150-599 attorneys), the top five best firms for female partners were Fragomen Del Rey (47.1%), Nossaman (42.9%), Hanson Bridgett (38.2%), Shipman & Goodwin (32.2%) and Best Best & Krieger (32.1%).

In the biggest category of ‘Big Law’ firms (600+ attorneys), Littler Mendelson tops the list of the biggest firms with the most female representation this year, with 29.6% female equity partners. Additional firms with the highest percentage of female equity partners include Jackson Lewis (28.3%), Faegre Baker Daniels (24.3%), Akerman (22.9%), and Ogletree Deakins (21.7%).

See highlights from the full article and rankings on Law360.

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Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.

Buoyed by a strong economy and expectations of continued growth in demand, the increasingly dynamic lateral market shows no signs of slowing in 2019, Law360 reports in a recent article. According to a report released by Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group and Hildebrandt Consulting, the lateral market had been the “primary driver of consolidation in the legal industry” in 2017 and 2018. During both of those years, the report found, lateral recruiting outpaced internal promotions, and that trend was unlikely to reverse in the near future.

In the article, Law360 reflects on the most effective hiring and integration strategies for attracting and retaining top talent at the fastest growing law firms in 2018. According to the article, law firm leaders at the most actively hiring firms identified a variety of strategies aimed at improving lateral hiring including seizing on opportunities from potentially flagging firms and building a competitive platform that integrates new talent and retains them for the long haul. Managing Partner of Akerman Scott Meyers weighs in on the success of the firm’s tactical lateral hiring strategies, which attributed to 47 lateral partners last year. According to Meyers, “None of this growth has been in the mold of, ‘If we build it, they will come,’ It’s been going to places where there is existing client demand, both in terms of geography as well as subject matter expertise,” (as quoted in Law360).

Another firm featured in Law360’s article was Kansas City-based Polsinelli, which also brought on 47 lateral partners in 2018. Polsinelli chairman and CEO Chase Simmons attributes its lateral growth to the firm’s 10-year focus on growing its bench in certain core practice areas, namely, real estate, financial services, mid-market corporate work, intellectual property and health care, as well as adjacent litigation and labor and employment matters. “We’re looking for people that fit culturally. If we see an opportunity that’s off-strategy, we’ll consider it,” notes Simmons. “We’re large enough as a firm that we can always be considering a few things that are maybe not right down the middle of what we’ve done in the past, but we know that that’s a different process,” (as quoted in Law360).

See highlights from the full article on Law360.

Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.

In the latest March 2018 issue, Chicago Lawyer published results from their 16th annual survey of Illinois’ largest law firms and spoke with managing partners at Chicago firms that have seen strong growth in recent years, including two of our clients Faegre Baker Daniels and Akerman.

Faegre Baker Daniels, for example, has proven that they have the right approach for Chicago growth, successfully growing their seven-attorney starter office to over 60 in just eight years. According to Chicago Lawyer’s latest survey results, Faegre Baker Daniels is the 58th largest firm in Illinois, up from 67th last year, and plans to have more than 100 lawyers in the Chicago office over the next few years. “We’re cognizant of the fact that the growth is primarily not going to come from our main markets, so we’re looking to grow in other markets,” notes Chicago managing partner, Rick Michaels. “There’s no limitation or desire to have a limited presence here. Our goal is to have [Chicago] be one of the growth vehicles for the firm as a whole.”

For Akerman, a mid-sized, full-service firm based out of Miami, growth has been a response to client demand. Chicago managing partner Scott Meyers discussed with the publication how client demand has continued to shape Akerman’s growth in Chicago, after firm headcount increased from eight to 51 lawyers since opening its doors in 2014. According to Chicago Lawyer’s recent survey, Akerman is the 67th largest firm in Illinois, up from 86th in 2017. “We did not come to Chicago just because we wanted to grow. We came to Chicago because our clients wanted us to be here. We have always worked backwards from ‘What do our clients need? What do our clients want? What do our clients expect us to be?’ rather than a strategy of ‘If we build it the clients will come,’” Meyers notes.

See highlights from the full article and survey on Chicago Lawyer.

Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.

Law360 recently released their annual Glass Ceiling report, ranking ten firms above their peers based on the percentage of women in their ranks.  Milwaukee-based Quarles & Brady outpaced the other 300 U.S. firms to win the number one spot.  Quarles is also the only firm on the list to have a female chair.  Akerman came in eighth, and law firm giant Baker & McKenzie took home the bronze.

Quarles & Brady chairwoman Kim Johnson attributed a variety of equality practices to the win, including an “equal opportunity” approach to promotions, which ensures that a minority is considered for every open position, and simply “making female attorney support and retention a priority,” (as quoted in Law360).

Managing partner of Akerman’s Chicago office, Scott Meyers, sat down with Crain’s to discuss the firm’s growth strategy.

Akerman, a mid-sized, full-service firm based out of Miami, opened their Chicago office two years ago with eight lawyers, which has since grown a team of 45 attorneys.

Meyers tells Crain’s that he “never imagined [they] would be able to grow as quickly as [they] have,” but says that they won’t put a goal date on their plan of doubling in size.  He explains that they are “optimistic enough” that they will “find enough wedge into the market” (as quoted in Crain’s).

Meyers points out that Akerman has managed to accomplish the same goal in New York, where their office has grown to nearly one hundred attorneys.  “As I always tell my litigators,” he adds, “don’t tell people when you can show people” (as quoted in Crain’s).

 

With the recent opening of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, law firms are seeing opportunities in the island nation that lies just 90 miles south of Florida.

The American Lawyer recently reported on Akerman’s four-person Cuba practice based in Miami. The group is led by a Cuban-American real estate lawyer who has developed relationships with government officials in Cuba since 2003 when he negotiated the first sale of Florida cattle to the country in over 40 years.

“In the past four weeks, Akerman has been inundated with inquiries from potential clients who wish to do business in Cuba, according to Pedro Freyre, who chairs the firm’s international practice and is also part of the Cuba team.”

The American Lawyer also mentioned that Holland & Knight has been inundated with questions about doing business in Cuba from new and existing clients. A corporate and securities partner at Greenberg Traurig notes that Mexican and Colombian companies are also interested because previously they were afraid of jeopardizing their American relationships by working in Cuba.