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Law360 released its seventh 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 40% of all attorneys and 25% of 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.

“The firms on this list are finding ways to expand the representation of women in their upper ranks. At many of the largest firms, more than 30% of equity partners are women. At some smaller firms, more than half of equity partners are women,” (as quoted in Law360). Among the 300 law firms surveyed, Jackson Lewis tops the list of the biggest firms with the most female representation this year, with 30.5% female equity partners. Immigration boutique Fragomen stands out among firms with 101 to 600 attorneys, with 51.0% female equity partners, the report notes.

In the biggest category of ‘Big Law’ firms (601+ attorneys), firms with the highest percentage of female equity partners were Jackson Lewis (30.5%), Littler Mendelson (30.4%), Morrison & Foerster (29.5%), Ropes & Gray (29.1%), Ballard Spahr (28.1%), and Jones Day (27.2%).

For medium to large sized firms (101-600 attorneys), the top five best firms for female partners were Fragomen (51.0%), Tyson & Mendes (50.0%), Berry Appleman (42.9%), Verrill Dana (39.6%), and Hanson Bridgett (38.8%).

Among the 300 law firms surveyed, small firms (20-100 attorneys) had the highest percentage of female equity partners, including Reichman Jorgensen (75.0%), Wright Finlay (66.7%), Walsworth (58.3%), Sideman & Bancroft (57.1%), and Wilson Turner (56.3%).

See the full article and rankings on Law360.

Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.

The American Lawyer reports that recent data released by Working Mother Media reveals that the legal industry is showing promising growth when it comes to gender equity among big law firms. Now in its 13th year, the annual Working Mother “Best Law Firms for Women” ranking highlights the top 60 law firms that define and implement best practices in recruiting, retaining, promoting and developing women lawyers. To compile the list, Working Mother assessed applications which included more than 300 questions about attorney demographics at different levels, schedule flexibility, policies for paid time off and parental leave, and development and retention of women lawyers.

Law firms selected for the list on average accounted for 23% of equity partners, up from 20% five years ago, the report notes. In addition, the number of female lawyers promoted to equity partner has increased by almost 25% over the past five years. When looking at other advancement statistics, multicultural women represent nearly 14% of the equity partnership, up from 11% five years ago. The number of multicultural, female associates also jumped to 33% from 27% in the same time period.

According to the report, all firms on the list offer women-specific mentoring programs and 50% of mentees are women. Two-third of the firms on the list have formal sponsorship with 62% of participants female, the report notes. Additionally, 36% provide gender-neutral fully paid parental leave in 2020, an increase from 35% in 2019; 36% provide gender-neutral paid parental leave with extra maternity leave, an increase from 24% in 2019; and 28% provide traditional maternity leave, an increase from 20% in 2019, (as quoted in The American Lawyer).

Working Mother also pointed out that flexibility has increased in the legal industry. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, all firms on the list offered reduced hours and remote work opportunities, with 39% of female lawyers working remotely in some capacity in 2019. “Law firms on this year’s list were better prepared to respond to the effects of the pandemic because of their continued support of flextime and remote work for working parents and caregivers,” notes Subha Barry, president of Working Mother Media. “We are proud to recognize their resilience and steadfast commitment to supporting gender equality.”

See more highlights from the rankings on The American Lawyer.

Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.

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.

The American Lawyer reports that recent data released by ALM Intelligence shows female attorneys have ascended into Big Law’s partnership ranks at a faster pace than ever before in the wake of the #MeToo movement. According to the analysis, the pace of promotions for female lawyers since the #MeToo movement began has soared from 125 per month to 265 a month —or more than double the rate from the previous period.

Mary Leslie Smith, who became managing partner of Foley & Lardner’s Miami office earlier this year, notes that the movement has raised awareness. “What the Harvey Weinstein and #MeToo movement has done is raise awareness,” Smith said. “Firms began to look internally and ask, ‘Are we doing right by our women?’”

In addition, the article reports on several high-profile elevations of women in Big Law including Donna Wilson, named to become CEO and managing partner of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips in July 2019; Julie Jones, who will become the first female chair of Ropes & Gray at the end of 2019; and Patricia Brown Holmes, who became managing partner of Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila in April.

Debra Baker, a lawyer and managing director at GrowthPlay, concludes that “the most significant force now encouraging firms to promote women is an increased demand by clients for diversity. Clients are looking for diverse lawyers, not just to appear politically correct, but because they want advisers that know something about their businesses, will share fresh perspectives and work collaboratively, added Baker, noting that women often do better on those fronts since they “tend to score higher on social sensitivity.”

See highlights from the full article on The American Lawyer.

Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.