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Women in the Law

Littler Mendelson Tops Ranking for Female Lawyers

Posted Jun 3, 2009 8:21 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Littler Mendelson is ranked No. 1 in a new study for having the greatest percentage of female lawyers and partners.

Women make up 43.9 percent of the firm’s lawyers and 29 percent of its partners, according to the results.

Overall, women made up 34 percent of the lawyers at the large firms surveyed by the American Lawyer; 45 percent were nonpartners and 19 percent partners. The study did not distinguish between nonequity and equity partners.

The top five law firms, based on percentage of women partners plus percentage of women lawyers, are:

  1. Littler Mendelson, with 43.9 percent women lawyers and 29 percent women partners.

  2. Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, with 42.7 percent women lawyers and 26.7 percent women partners.

  3. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, with 46 percent women lawyers and 21.9 percent women partners.

  4. Ropes & Gray, with 44.5 percent women lawyers and 20.7 percent women partners.

  5. Ice Miller, with 38.2 percent women lawyers and 26.9 percent women partners.

Highly leveraged law firms where it is difficult to make partner tend to have poor showings for women partners, the study found.

Law firm diversity consultant Arin Reeves told the American Lawyer she doesn’t think it’s an issue of conscious bias. Rather, female associates who take time off for children are often viewed as less committed and given fewer high-profile assignments.

"Basically, women get written off, they get discounted," Reeves told the publication. "You're not going to get the same opportunities as a senior [associate] to show you can shine."

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