Action Step – Attaining Gender Diversity at the Top
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.
We recently released our 2022 New Partner Report, consisting of an annual examination of data regarding the gender breakdown of attorneys promoted to partnership from over 200 of the nation’s largest and top-grossing law firms. The Alliance then hosted our New Partner Summit, encompassing an in-depth discussion regarding the results of the new partner report, highlighting best practices, and featuring talent leaders from 4-time “Tipping the Scales” firms1 to discuss strategies for achieving gender parity.
Our 2022 New Partner Report and New Partner Summit mentioned the concerning results in the 2022 new partner class of U.S. law firms, as the share of women among new partners was 40.2%, demonstrating a 0.7% decrease from the previous year’s figure, and significant year-over-year dip of 4.2% at the nation’s top grossing AmLaw 50 firms2. This decline is even more troubling considering that the average new partner class actually increased substantially and the gap of the share of new women partners compared to the shares of women associates and women summer associates widened3.
Additionally, NALP’s recent report shows that this pipeline gap is more drastic when looking at women of color, as women of color comprise less than 5% of the partnership, despite over a quarter of the summer associate class being women of color4. The Alliance has the following important recommendations to create long-lasting change and improve gender parity at the leadership level…
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1 “Tipping the Scales” recipients are firms that promoted 50% or more women in their U.S. new partner classes.
2 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.
3 See “2021 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms,” NALP, January 2022. https://www.nalp.org/uploads/2021NALPReportonDiversity.pdf
4 See “2022 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms,” NALP, January 2023, https://www.nalp.org/uploads/Research/2022NALPReportonDiversity_Final.pdf