Diversity & Flexibility Alliance Report Finds Slight Increase in Women Among Law Partner Classes
Increased Focus on Recruiting, Training,
Supporting and Advancing Women Is Critical
Washington, DC – November 9, 2017 — The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance announced today that the percentage of women promoted to partnership in 2017 in the U.S. Offices of many of the nation’s largest and top-grossing law firms has reached a six-year high of 38.1 percent. The Alliance’s sixth-annual New Partner Report reveals that this year there was an increase of five percentage points since 2012 and one percentage point since 2016. This year also marks the largest share of firms (32.3%) with new partner classes consisting of at least 50 percent women.
The report emphasizes, however, that this increase is minor and law firms must take steps now to develop more young women attorneys and monitor the pipeline to make sure that women have access to the same training and opportunities to advance their careers as men.
“While we are optimistic that these results show that the industry is moving in the right direction when it comes to gender parity, the increase is too slow and firms must prepare for the future now if they want to remain competitive,” said Manar Morales, President and CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “It’s time that firms evolve with the times, understand the advantages of gender parity at the partner level, and take the steps necessary to retain and promote top female talent,” she added.
The Alliance recommends that law firms focus on:
– Investing in advancing women lawyers by providing excellent training, mentoring, client development and sponsorship opportunities.
– Monitoring the pipeline and tracking who is leaving and why, determining the types of opportunities that foster advancement for both men and women, and setting goals to address problems.
– Reviewing flexible work policies to determine their effectiveness and ensuring that they are offering non-stigmatized, holistic flexible work options which have been shown to improve the recruitment and retention of both men and women.
The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s New Partner Report is a yearly compilation of data from more than 100 (133 this year) of the nation’s largest and top-grossing law firms examining the gender breakdown of attorneys promoted to partnership in their U.S. offices. The data is based upon publicly available firm announcements and other self-reported sources on new partner classes with an effective date of promotion between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017. Data is collected from Alliance members and other firms that are historically represented among the nation’s largest and/or top-grossing law firms with offices in the United States.
The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance is dedicated to helping organizations create inclusive cultures that support the advancement of women, promote diversity and embrace flexible work. The Alliance provides practical research-based solutions that increase organizational effectiveness and create high performance cultures while through diversity and flexibility.
President & CEO