Career & Practice

BigLaw firm earns top spot for number of female attorneys; what other firms made the cut?

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A new firm is No. 1 on the National Law Journal’s 2019 Women in Law Scorecard, which ranks the largest law firms in the country by their representation of female attorneys.

Berry Appleman & Leiden, an immigration firm based in San Francisco, reported to the National Law Journal that 59.2% of its 142 lawyers were women in 2018. Additionally, the firm said women accounted for 60% of its partners and 57.8% of its associates.

Jeremy Fudge, the Dallas-based managing partner of Berry Appleman & Leiden, told the National Law Journal that his firm worked to increase its female and diversity attorney head counts in part to compete with other firms. While its focus on immigration helps—as the practice tends to attract more female attorneys—he said the firm also allows for remote work and flexible work schedules to retain its lawyers.

The National Law Journal calculates the annual Women in Law Scorecard rankings by adding each firm’s percentage of total female lawyers with its percentage of female partners.

For the 2019 rankings, 271 of the nation’s 350 largest law firms by head count answered the survey. In total, 36.5% of 141,466 attorneys were women in 2018. Only 23.5% of equity partners were women, while 47% of associates were women.

New York-based immigration firm Fragomen ranked No. 1 in the scorecard for the past seven years. This year, it took the second spot, reporting that 65.2% of its 582 lawyers were women in 2018. Fifty-one percent of partners at the firm were women, and 69.5% of its associates were women.

Four of the next five firms at the top of the 2019 Women in Law Scorecard focus on labor and employment law, another practice area that historically attracts female lawyers, according to the National Law Journal. Kubicki Draper ranked No. 3; FordHarrison ranked No. 5; Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete ranked No. 6; and Littler Mendelson ranked No. 7.

Last week, the National Law Journal also published the 2019 NLJ 500, its annual survey of law firm head counts across the country.

According to the survey, the number of lawyers at the 500 largest U.S. law firms increased by 2.5% to 169,477 in 2018. The average firm size also increased by eight lawyers in 2018, compared to the 1% increase that was reported in 2017.

See also:

ABA Journal: “Law firm 2019 diversity scorecard is released; which firms top the list?”

ABA Journal: “More law firms join ‘best for women’ lists, but statistics are stalled”

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