Women Partner Watch 2013: Gaining Ground

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The interactive chart below represents The American Lawyer's latest attempt at answering a simple question: How many women make partner at the nation's largest law firms these days?

We took our initial stab at answering the question last year. First, Aric Press, editor in chief of American Lawyer parent ALM, analyzed some 5,000 partner promotions at Am Law 100 and Second Hundred firms over a four-year period beginning in January 2008. What Press determined, as he reported in his January 2012 Dicta column, was that 30 percent of the lawyers making partner at those firms during that period were women.

With that as a benchmark, we examined the 1,926 partner promotions made by 183 firms in 2012 and found that the ratio of women had edged up to 32 percent. Some firms, of course, fared better in terms of the male/female breakdown. Choate Hall & Stewart and Hughes Hubbard & Reed both had new partner classes that were entirely female (to be fair, each only promoted one lawyer). The five firms at which women constituted a majority in new partner classes of 10 or more also deserve mention: Fox Rothschild (7 women of the firm's 13 new partners), Jackson Walker (7 of 11), Littler Mendleson (7 of 13), Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart (9 of 16), and Perkins Coie (7 of 12). At the other end of the spectrum, 27 firms—including Haynes and Boone (nine new partners) and Ice Miller (eight)—did not promote a single woman to their partnership ranks in 2012. (Click here to see last year's interactive Women Partner Watch chart.)

Judging by the 2013 partner promotion announcements we had received from 66 firms as of February 22, women are making additional gains this year. Of the 717 new partners those firms promoted, 250, or 35 percent, were women. At five firms—Including Nixon Peabody (8 women out of 13 new partners) and Carlton Fields (8 out of 12)—the ratio tops 60 percent. Meanwhile, some firms that fared poorly by this measure of gender diversityin 2012 are doing better this year. That includes Haynes & Boone, where three of this year's eight new partners were women.

We will continue to track these promotions throughout the year and update our chart—which does not include an equity-versus-nonequity breakdown—accordingly. — Sara Randazzo (Updated October 1, 2013.)

 

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