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NALP Dropped Quest for Nonequity Partner Data After Law Firms Resisted

Posted Feb 25, 2010 9:13 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The career professionals group NALP dropped an effort to collect data on nonequity partners after most of its law firm members refused to supply the information.

The American Lawyer has the reaction: “Women lawyers are furious,” the publication reports. Women and minorities are pressing for the information so law students will be able to assess which firms provide the best chances for a full equity partnership.

NALP gave up its quest to get the data for its directory of legal employers on Feb. 12, the group’s executive director James Leipold told the American Lawyer. "Many [firms] said they would not fill [out] the NALP form if we required it,” he said. NALP had been seeking the data for just one month.

Most firms cited privacy concerns when refusing to provide the information, Leipold said. The firms said providing the data could help identify and stigmatize nonequity partners. But Stanford Law School professor Michele Dauber suspects there is another reason.

"It's not about protecting women, it's more about protecting billing rates," Dauber told the American Lawyer. "They don't want clients to know who's equity and who's not; ambiguity allows them to bill at higher rates."

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