Law Firms

Few women lead law firms, but there are more female equity partners, report says

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For more than the last three decades, women comprised more than 40 percent of law school classes—but they only make up 24 percent of law firm partners, and hold just 12 percent of top leadership positions at firms, a new report says.

Demographics at more than 300 U.S.-based law firms were examined by Law360, according to a summary of its Glass Ceiling Report released Tuesday.

The legal news service also found that at firms where women lawyers occupy top leadership positions, there was an increase of 5 percentage points in female equity partners, and more women attorneys throughout the firms.

Almost 42 percent of the women promoted to partner in 2017 identified as women, but more than one in 10 law firms didn’t promote any women to partner, the report says.

Five years ago, women of color comprised 16 percent of all full-time law students, and represent 8 percent of private practice lawyers today. However, women of color made up only 3 percent of all law firm partners, according to the report.

The summary also mentioned sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement, which will be examined in a Law360 survey about job satisfaction set to be released this summer. Almost one-third of the female respondents in that survey reported that they experienced sexual harassment, and more than half reported that they experienced workplace gender discrimination.

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