Research


 

Washington, DC – December 19, 2018 – Today, the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance released its seventh-annual New Partner Report, which revealed a slight increase in the percentage of women among new partners in 2018 in the U.S. Offices of the nation’s largest and top-grossing law firms. While the results showed a seven-year high of 38.9 percent, it was a mere 0.8 percent increase from last year. An Executive Summary of the report is available here. The complete report is available to Alliance members in the Member Resource Center.

“These results highlight the fact that while many recruiting classes of law school graduates may have 50% women, the percentages drop off dramatically as women advance to Partnership levels,“ said Manar Morales, President and CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “This underscores the need for firms to commit to a more intentional and proactive strategy to retain and advance women. It is essential that firms pay more attention to the diversity of the pipeline of talent at least three years in advance of the partnership track, as well as implement more programs to support the advancement of women along the way,” she added.

The Alliance specifically suggests that firms and other organizations:

– Identify and track gaps in gender diversity at all levels;

– Carefully consider ways to balance the pipeline of talent, at senior levels in particular;

– Implement policies and programs that support the retention and advancement of women;

– Commit to a more intentional strategy for gender diversity throughout the firm;

– Address any weaknesses in their flexibility and parental leave initiatives.

The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s New Partner Report is a yearly compilation of data from more than 100 (134 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, 2017 and September 30, 2018. While these are the most favorable results in seven years, with an increase of almost six percentage points since 2012, the percentage of women among new partners in the U.S. has remained relatively stable.

Alliance member firms included in this report averaged 40.5 percent women in their new partner classes, outpacing the national average by over 1.5 percentage points. Alliance members have access to the entire New Partner Report, as well as opportunities for individualized strategic planning sessions focused on improving their gender diversity outcomes.

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.

 

Contact Manar Morales at manar@dfalliance.com for more information on the report or for guidance on how your firm can advance and retain more women.

As we release our fifth annual New Partner Report this week we are pleased to see that the percentage of women promoted to partnership in major U.S. law firms is continuing to steadily increase. This year, we found that 37.3 percent of new partners were women, up from 34 percent last year and 33 percent in 2014. We are even more pleased and proud that our member firms are outpacing the national average with 38.3 percent of new partners being women. As the National Association for Legal Placement (NALP) reported in 2015 the total percentage of women partners is 21.46 percent, so these incoming classes are clearly going to increase the overall numbers of women in firm leadership.

While we are optimistic that major law firms might one day have an even balance of men and women in their partnership and leadership ranks, the industry still has a long way to go. Research shows us that there is still some work to be done before firms retain as many women as they do men over the years. Remember, according to NALP, 48 percent of graduating law school students are women and 44.68 percent of law firm associates are women, so we need to understand why these percentages are dropping to 21.46 at the partner level and 37.3 in terms of partner promotions. Read more

Our Third Annual Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Survey will remain open until September 12, 2016 September 27, 2016 (DEADLINE EXTENDED). We strongly encourage all major U.S. law firms, including Alliance members and non-members, to take advantage of this unique opportunity to track the availability, usage, and support for flexible work options.

There is No Downside to Participating

Remember, our survey is unique in the sense that no firms are named (or shamed!) and we will not produce a ranked list. All responses are kept confidential and the final results report will only include aggregate data. We simply want law firms to examine their holistic flexible work usage including reduced hours schedules, telecommuting, flexible start/end times, annualized hours, and job sharing by attorney position, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Our goal is to help improve firms’ flex policies and help to change the culture of flex in the industry as a whole.

Process of Participating Yields Huge Benefits

Many firms find that by participating in our survey, they can take stock of their flexible work options, their employees’ usage, and how they can improve their policies. As we all know, flexible work options are very important to today’s law school graduates and are key to all firms’ recruitment and retention strategies. Read more

Announcing the Third Annual Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Survey

As with any aspect of business, it’s important to track your firm’s progress and know where you stand in the industry when it comes to flexibility. Are you keeping up with your competitors’ flexible work policies?

To help law firms answer this question, the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance created a benchmarking survey two years ago which tracks the availability, usage, and support for flexible work in major law firms in the US. The Third Annual Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Survey is now available to law firms in the American Lawyer 200 (AmLaw 200), including Alliance members and non-members. Read more

Did you miss seeing our 2015 Flexibility Benchmarking Survey Report released two weeks ago?

If so, you may not know that a majority of U.S. law firms in our survey reported having more than one type of flexible work as part of their formal policy. That is, their policies include at least two of the following types of holistic flexibility: reduced hour schedules, telecommuting, flexible start/end times, annualized hours and/or job sharing. Read more

According to our 2015 Flexibility Benchmarking Survey, there has been an uptick in the share of law firms that have formalized flexible work policies. In fact, 92% of law firms (at least of the 25 we surveyed) have formalized, written policies that include holistic flexibility – that is, reduced hours and full-time forms of flexibility. Read more

The Alliance’s 2015 Flexibility Benchmarking Survey Report was recently featured in two pieces from Law360:

Few Attys Take Advantage Of Firms’ Flexible Hours: Survey by Kat Greene

Fearing Career-Killer, BigLaw Attys Pass On Flex Time by Kat Greene

Read more

The findings of the Alliance’s 2015 New Partner Report have been featured by numerous national publications, including the American Bar Association Journal, the American Lawyer, Crain’s Chicago Business, Law360, and the Wall Street Journal:

Which major firms promoted zero women to partner this year? by Debra Cassens Weiss

At Some Firms More Than Others, Women Lag Among New Partners by Julie Triedman

Guess which Chicago law firm has promoted the most female partners by Claire Bushey

Female Attys Make Modest Gains In Partner Promotions by Andrew Strickler

Legal Industry Potpourri: Demand Down, More Women Advancing by Sara Randazzo Read more

The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance is pleased to announce the launch of the Second Annual Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Survey, which will build upon the momentum of our inaugural study conducted last year.

Consistent with our mission to advance flexibility for all in the legal profession, this survey tracks the availability, usage, and support for flexible work in major law firms in the US. More specifically, this year’s survey will examine the types of flexibility and leave policies that firms have implemented, general usage by level, race, gender, and sexual orientation, whether and how working flexibly affects promotion, and the types of support available for those who work flexibly. Read more