Women Are Slowly Nabbing More Law Firm Partnerships

Illustration for article titled Women Are Slowly Nabbing More Law Firm Partnerships

Even though women may be joining big, mahogany-redolent law firms with less zeal than in the not-so-distant past, those already working at such law firms are being promoted to equity partnerships at the about the speed at which a spoonful of old honey travels from the ass of a little plastic bear to its nose. Still, progress is progress, and, according to data the National Law Review gathered from over 200 firms in 2011, women make up 15 percent of equity partners across the country. Good, yes?


Actually, that number hasn't changed much since 2006, except for one sliver of a statistic — among the top 18 firms with profits of $2 million or more per partner, 11 have women that account for more than 15 percent of equity partnerships, and some firms even exceed 20 percent. That might not seem like cause to buy streamers, silly string, noisemakers, and a cookie cake emblazoned with "Congratz 2011 Lady Lawyerzzzzzz" (more z's mean more delicious icing, duh), but it does help demonstrate that firms with only one track for leadership positions (single-tier partnership firms) are better at promoting female employees than firms with different tracks for equity and non-equity partners. Female representation in all partnership has also risen to 19 percent, so there's also that for all of us to get excited about, although maybe it'd just be nice to know that people who spend all that time and money toiling through law school will still be able to get jobs that don't involve reviewing the local pop-up Christmas store's live reindeer liability insurance in between rearranging the Pointsettia displays.

Big Law And Women: Closing the Gap, Very Slowly [WSJ]

Image via Kzenon/Shutterstock.

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Firms that have multi-tier equity/non-equity partnership tracks seem to be, in my experience (as a lady lawyer and with many friends, peers and colleagues who are lady lawyers) the worst at being able to promote women into power and value positions. It makes some logical sense why this is the case, though. The ladeeez leave to have the babeez (even if only for a few months) and then are 'behind' but can still be promoted to the lesser tier of non-equity partnership with the carrot of maybe someday getting equity. Better to move ahead than to stagnate, but far from ideal since I believe moving from non-equity to equity to sometimes be a bigger hurdle than associate to partner.