Action Step – Maintaining & Fostering Gender Diversity Through Difficult Times

The Alliance’s Action Steps are designed to assist organizations with implementing practical strategies and policies related to diversity and flexibility. Members can access full versions of all of the Alliance’s Action Steps in the Member Resource Center.

Our 2023 New Partner Report and 2024 New Partner Summit highlighted positive data and trends in the advancement of women in law firms last year. Significant metrics were robust; notably, the share of women among U.S.-based new partners increased substantially by 3.5%, and the nation’s top grossing AmLaw 50, AmLaw 100 and AmLaw 200 firms demonstrated similar increases in the shares of women new partners. We should celebrate these bright spots and wins. However, we should also proceed with caution, as the results of our 2022 report were quite concerning; specifically, there was a decrease in the share of women new partners from the 2021 figure, and a significant year-over-year dip in the share of women new partners at the nation’s top grossing AmLaw 50 firms.1 We must ponder whether this year’s strong data demonstrates true upward momentum in gender parity, or whether it is simply adjusting for last year’s troubling results. Further, we are concerned with current market responses, including layoffs, deferral of incoming attorneys, and tightening of hybrid work environments, and how these responses will impact women in leadership in future years.

1 The share of women among new partners was 40.2%, demonstrating a 0.7% decrease from the previous year’s figure. There was a significant year-over-year dip of 4.2% at the nation’s top grossing AmLaw 50 firms. The average new partner class increased substantially – 14.1 attorneys in 2022 vs. 11.7 attorneys in 2021.

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