Women in the Law

Which major firms promoted zero women to partner this year?

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The percentage of females who won partnership promotions at major law firms this year increased by two percentage points to 34.4 percent, even though more than a dozen law firms failed to promote any women.

Those findings were released on Monday by a group called the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, the Am Law Daily (sub. req.) reports. The group studied public partnership promotions effective in 2015, based on announcements by 118 major law firms in a one-year period ending Sept. 30. The survey doesn’t distinguish between equity and income partners. A press release is here.

About 23 percent of the firms reported that women made up at least half of newly promoted partners. According to this chart, they include Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld; Andrews Kurth; Arent Fox; Arnold & Porter; Ballard Spahr; Beveridge and Diamond; Chadbourne & Parke; Crowell & Moring; Drinker Biddle & Reath; Edwards Wildman Palmer (before a merger); Fenwick & West; Gibbons; Holland & Knight; Jenner & Block; Lathrop & Gage; Littler Mendelson; Locke Lord (pre-merger); Lowenstein Sandler; Manatt, Phelps & Phillips; McCarter & English; Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart; Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Proskauer Rose; Reed Smith; Shook Hardy & Bacon; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and Thompson Hine.

According to the alliance, these law firms failed to promote any women partners:

• Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft (promoting three males)

• Cravath, Swaine & Moore (promoting four males)

• Davis Polk & Wardwell (promoting five males)

• Dechert (promoting seven males)

• Farella Braun & Martell (promoting two males)

• Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy (promoting five males)

• Schulte Roth & Zabel (promoting one male)

• Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox (promoting six males)

• Stroock & Stroock & Lavan (promoting two males)

• Thompson & Knight (promoting five males)

• Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (promoting four males)

• Willkie Farr & Gallagher (promoting eight males)

• Zuckerman Spaeder (promoting one male)

The alliance included a fourteenth law firm, Shearman & Sterling, on its list of firms that promoted no women, but it confirmed to the Am Law Daily that it had elected a female partner in 2015. Denise Robinson, director of research for the alliance, says the woman promoted to partner is in the firm’s Paris office, and offices outside the United States weren’t included in its research.

Alliance CEO Manar Morales says the data is intended to show where the industry stands, rather than to shame law firms. “A lot still needs to happen within firms in the ways they’re tackling unconscious bias,” Morales told the Am Law Daily.

Updated at 1:10 a.m. to include comment by the alliance’s director of research.

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