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

The concerning results of our recently released 2020 New Partner Report, combined with the recent studies showing that women will be forced to leave the workforce due to the pandemic, could signal a step backwards for gender parity at top leadership levels. Our report shows that the share of women among new partners dropped slightly this year (40.9% in 2020 vs. 41.3% in 2019) and is only the second time over the last nine years when there was a year over year drop. Furthermore, according to NALP, the share of women minority partners at 3.45% is significantly lower than the share of total women partners (24.17%), indicating that cautionary trends uncovered from our 2020 New Partner Report would impact this group even more drastically. Organizations need to double down efforts now to increase the gender and ethnic parity at the top.

  1. Hiring with Intentionality. In our 2020 New Partner Report, we discussed the need to focus on strategically recruiting mid-level and senior level women attorneys through lateral hiring efforts, and we recommend organizations do the same for women of color. The representation of these groups at the associate level (46.77% women and 14.48% women of color)[1] is similar to the shares of these groups in terms of law school enrollment (54% women and 18.6% minority women),[2] but the representation of these groups greatly decrease at the partnership level (24.17% women and 3.45% women of color).[3] Organizations need to intentionally focus on increasing their women of color lateral recruiting pool by tapping into internal networks (i.e. women/diversity affinity group contacts; community contacts; client contacts), utilizing recruiters focused on diversity hiring, and setting diversity/gender goals regarding lateral recruiting based upon pipeline. Simultaneously, organizations need to make sure to attract top women of color through these hiring efforts. Conduct focus groups, check-in meetings and surveys to understand why women of color at the mid-level/senior level ranks chose your organization so you can publicize these policies/practices during interviews. Educate interviewers on diversity programs so they can raise them during interviews. Include a diverse interview panel, tapping into your women’s affinity group and diversity affinity group to secure interviewers.

[1] See “2019 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms” NALP, December 2019.

[2] See “Enrollment Data 2017-2019,” American Bar Association, 2019.

[3] See “2019 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms” NALP, December 2019.

Members: continue reading this Action Step in the Member Resource Center

To read this entire Action Step become a member of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. To further discuss your flexible working initiative during and after the pandemic, contact Manar Morales.

2020 New Partner Report Released

Washington, DC – November 6, 2020 – Yesterday, during the Diversity and Flexibility Alliance’s Annual Conference, forty-six law firms were recognized for having 50% or more women in their 2020 U.S.-based new partner classes. The firms, recognized as “Tipping the Scales,” were identified through the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s New Partner Report, a compilation of public data released each year for the past nine years. The Report revealed that 40.9 percent of new partners in 137 major U.S. law firms in 2020 were women. This figure is a slight dip from the previous mark of 41.3 percent last year.

The “Tipping the Scales” firms recognized for having 50% or more women in their 2020 new partner class included:

1. Arent Fox
2. Arnold & Porter*
3. Boies Schiller Flexner
4. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
5. Cahill Gordon & Reindel
6. Cooley*
7. Covington & Burling*
8. Crowell & Moring*
9. Davis Wright Tremaine*
10. Dechert*
11. Epstein Becker & Green
12. Foley & Lardner
13. Foley Hoag
14. Gibbons*
15. Hodgson Russ*
16. Hogan Lovells*
17. Husch Blackwell
18. Jackson Lewis*
19. Jones Day*
20. Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel
21. Kutak Rock*
22. Lathrop GPM*
23. Littler Mendelson
24. Miles & Stockbridge
25. Miller & Chevalier*
26. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius*
27. Morrison & Foerster
28. Nixon Peabody
29. O’Melveny & Myers*
30. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
31. Quarles & Brady*
32. Ropes & Gray
33. Seyfarth Shaw*
34. Shook, Hardy & Bacon
35. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom*
36. Steptoe
37. Thompson & Knight
38. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
39. Weil, Gotshal & Manges
40. White & Case*
41. Wiley Rein*
42. Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP
43. Williams & Connolly
44. WilmerHale
45. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
46. Womble Bond Dickinson
* Diversity & Flexibility Alliance Member Firm

“By promoting equal numbers of men and women to partner, these firms have signaled their commitment to gender parity and their understanding of the value that women in leadership brings to their firm and clients,” said Manar Morales, President & CEO of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. “While this year’s results are similar to last year’s numbers, it is concerning that the percentage of women advancing to partnership has dropped slightly. This data, combined with the recent studies showing that women will be forced to leave the workforce due to the COVID 19 pandemic, could signal a significant step backwards in the efforts to achieve gender parity.”

“I recommend that all organizations commit to an intentional gender diversity strategy that includes important systemic changes,” Morales said.  “We applaud our member firms, many of whom took these intentional steps towards increasing gender diversity, leading to quantifiable results as our member firms promoted a substantially higher share of female new partners (43%), compared to the overall share of women in this year’s new partner classes (40.9%),” she added.

The Alliance has been compiling this data and releasing this report for nine years. While this year represents an increase of 7.7 percentage points since 2012, it represents a slight dip from last year of 0.4 percentage points and is only the second time over the last nine years when there was a year over year drop (2013 to 2014 was the only other time the figure dropped). The 2020 New Partner Report also found that the gap between the share of new women partners and the share of women associates has widened. This year, the difference between the share of women partners and women associates was 5.9%, whereas in 2019 it was 4.6%.

The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s New Partner Report is a yearly compilation of data from more than 100 (137 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, 2019 and September 30, 2020.

The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance is a think tank that collaborates with organizations to develop non-stigmatized flexible work policies that promote inclusive work cultures and help to advance more women into leadership positions. The Alliance provides practical research-based solutions, training workshops, and strategic advisory services that increase organizational effectiveness through diversity and flexibility.


Contact: Manar Morales


Congratulations to all the law firms named to Working Mother Media’s 2020 Best Law Firms for Women List.  These firms are being recognized for their “efforts and successes in finding, retaining and promoting women lawyers” and we commend their commitment to gender parity.

The Best Law Firms for Women List has been published for the last thirteen years.  Law firms are asked to complete an application including more than 300 questions about attorney demographics at different levels, schedule flexibility, paid time off and parental leaves, and development and retention of women.

We are particularly proud to congratulate the following Diversity & Flexibility Alliance members named to the 2020 List:

  1. Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
  2. Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
  3. Cooley
  4. Crowell & Moring
  5. Davis Wright Tremaine
  6. Dechert
  7. DLA Piper
  8. Dorsey & Whitney
  9. Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath
  10. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner
  11. Fish & Richardson
  12. Jackson Lewis P.C.
  13. Katten
  14. Latham & Watkins
  15. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
  16. Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
  17. O’Melveny & Myers
  18. Perkins Coie
  19. Quarles & Brady
  20. Reed Smith
  21. Seyfarth Shaw
  22. Sidley Austin
  23. Wiley

As we announced in our 2017 New Partner Report, there were 44 firms that promoted 50% or more women in this year’s new partner class. Congratulations to these firms for their commitment to gender parity and for developing a top quality leadership team.

  1. Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
  2. Baker Donelson
  3. Covington & Burling
  4. Cravath, Swaine & Moore
  5. Crowell & Moring
  6. Debevoise & Plimpton
  7. Dorsey & Whitney
  8. Drinker Biddle & Reath
  9. Epstein Becker & Green
  10. Eversheds Sutherland
  11. Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto
  12. Foley Hoag
  13. Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy
  14. Goldberg Kohn
  15. Haynes and Boone
  16. Hughes Hubbard & Reed
  17. Hunton & Williams
  18. Husch Blackwell
  19. Jenner & Block
  20. Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel
  21. Kutak Rock
  22. LeClairRyan
  23. Littler Mendelson
  24. Locke Lord
  25. Loeb & Loeb
  26. McDermott Will & Emery
  27. Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy
  28. Miles & Stockbridge
  29. Miller & Chevalier
  30. Morrison & Foerster
  31. Nixon Peabody
  32. O’Melveny & Myers
  33. Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein
  34. Paul Hastings
  35. Pepper Hamilton
  36. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
  37. Quarles & Brady
  38. Schulte Roth & Zabel
  39. Steptoe & Johnson
  40. Van Ness Feldman
  41. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  42. Weil, Gotshal & Manges
  43. Williams & Connolly
  44. Willkie Farr & Gallagher

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