Women in the Law

Women and Minority General Counsel Are Gaining Ground at Fortune 500 Companies, Study Shows


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Joe West.
Image courtesy MCCA

The number of women in top legal spots at Fortune 500 companies is on the rise and accelerating, according to an annual survey by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.

Women now hold general counsel positions at 21 percent of companies in the Fortune 500. The study showed there were 108 women general counsel in 2011, up seven from 2010.

The survey, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the MCCA’s Diversity & the Bar, also found:

• The number of women general counsel at Fortune 500 companies has accelerated, with 23 added since 2009.

• Top female legal officers are increasingly diverse, with about 16 percent identifying themselves at minority.

• Among Fortune 1000 companies, there were 78 women general counsel, a decrease of four since 2011. The MCCA attributes the cause to six companies leaving the Fortune 1000.

“The real impact of this news, hopefully, is that it will illustrate to law firms that corporate law departments are serious about inclusion both in word and in deed, and that the time is coming when law firms need to get serious about it as well,” MCCA president Joe West, told Corporate Counsel magazine.

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