Gender Disparity In BigLaw Pervasive Among Partners

By on June 13, 2014

June 13, 2014

An Above the Law analysis of gender disparity in BigLaw revealed that, though women are a solid majority of newly recruited lawyers, that majority quickly shrinks, and women end up being only 17 percent of equity partners. The site provides a list of how the country’s top firms compare, with Wilmer’s 24 percent female equity partners taking the top spot.

A report from Adam Smith, Esq. firm on the economics of BigLaw suggests that the drop-off in women from entry-level positions to partner roles “tells us that our problem is everything that happens in-between first-year and equity partner eligibility.” Unequal exposure to the most talented senior partners and the most interesting cases, and unequal participation in networks outside the office are among the potential causes Adam Smith suggests. These kinds of endemic inequalities take time and conscious, constant effort to root out. “The bad news is it’s boots on the ground work, from day one through equity partner eligibility and of course beyond. Hard, relentless, opposed—so we readily see, and so our three-[plus] decades of fruitless efforts confirm—to the prevailing mindset, habits, and comfort zone, and nothing we can outsource or buy off the shelf,” Adam Smith says. “And did I mention that it will take years for results to begin to become apparent?”



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