New Partner Report 2019
Summary of Findings
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Attorneys Promoted to Partnership in the U.S. by Gender – 2019
Roughly 41.3% of attorneys promoted to partnership in 2019 in the U.S. offices of many of the nation’s largest and top-grossing law firms were women, while 58.7% were men.
Among the 138 firms from which data was collected, 51 firms (37%) reported a 50/50 split or greater in favor of women. This is an increase from both the 2018 figure of 31.3% and the 2017 figure of 32.3%, and it also represents a significant increase over previous years. Seven firms (5.1%) reported having no women promoted to partnership. This figure represents a small increase from 2018 (6 firms or 4.5%) but still a decrease from 2017 (10 firms or 7.5%). Two of these seven firms were among the firms with no women in the 2018 New Partner Report, but women made up half or more of the 2018 new partner classes at three of the seven firms.
The average number of attorneys promoted to partnership was 12.6, which represents an increase from last year’s figure of 11. Firms reporting a 50/50 split or greater in favor of women promoted an average of 11.3 attorneys to partner, which represents a significant increase from last year’s figure of 8.3. The seven firms that did not promote any women to partner have significantly smaller than average new partner classes – only 2.3 attorneys.
The Bigger Picture of Women in Law Firms
When included in an overall snapshot of women within the legal profession, the percentage of women promoted to partnership shows promise as it outpaces the total percentage of women partners (23.4%) as reported by the National Association for Legal Placement (NALP) in 2018. While the percentage of new women partners falls behind the percentages of women associates (45.9%) and women summer associates (51.4%) in 2018 by roughly 4.6 and 10.1 percentage points respectively, the gap is substantially less than last year (6.8 and 11.2 percentage points respectively).
*The percentages of women summer associates, associates, and partners reflect data reported for 2018, while the percentage of women promoted to partner reflects data from 2019. As of this report’s publishing, data for women summer associates, associates, and partners in 2019 was not yet available.
Share of Women Among New Partners: A Six-Year Look
When the Alliance began collecting data in 2012, the share of women among new partner classes was roughly 33%. The percentage of women among new partners in the U.S. has remained relatively stable with modest increases in the past (other than 2013 to 2014 representing a decrease). This year’s figure of 41.3% represents a substantial increase, surpassing the previous mark of 38.9% from last year, and is also coming closer to percentages of women associates (45.9%) and women summer associates (51.4%) over last year’s numbers.
ABOUT THE REPORT
The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s New Partner Report is a yearly compilation and examination of data from over 100 of the nation’s largest and top-grossing law firms about the attorneys promoted to partnership in U.S. offices. The Alliance has generated this report since 2012, and the report aims to uncover trends related to the percentages of women promoted to partnership each year.
The data contained in this report is based upon publicly available firm announcements and self-reported sources about annual classes of attorneys promoted to partnership in U.S. offices. For the 2019 report, the data reflects new partner classes with an effective date of promotion between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019. This report does not include data from the Alliance’s Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Survey Report, which is a separate Alliance research initiative.
The Alliance is here to provide you with expert advice on ways to improve the representation of women partners at your firm – to learn more, contact Manar Morales.
 See “2018 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms” NALP, January 2019. https://www.nalp.org/uploads/2018NALPReportonDiversityinUSLawFirms_FINAL.pdf
Access the 2019 Press Release HERE.
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