Fewer Large Law Firms Have Female Leaders Than In 2012June 18, 2013
The number of large law firms with women heading offices, practice groups and governance committees dropped from 50 to 42 between last year and this year, although some of the 42 firms boosted their female leadership, the Women in Law Empowerment Forum recently announced.
The organization’s 2013 Gold Standard Certification program considered firms that applied for certification; have at least 200 practicing attorneys in the U.S.; and employ women representing a significant percentage of their equity partners, top leadership positions, governance and compensation committees and highest-paid partners.
WILEF focuses on women in leadership roles instead of on lifestyle perks, such as maternity leave, which sets it apart from other surveys. The list, which was released June 11, is based on six statistical criteria measuring leadership roles achieved by equity women partners — as opposed to work-life balance, diversity initiatives or other firm policies and practices.
Six firms met all six criteria, compared with three last year: FordHarrison LLP, Fredrikson & Byron PA, Holland & Hart LLP, Littler Mendelson PC, Reed Smith LLP and Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP. The latter two firms were certified in all six categories for the third time, while Fredrikson & Byron was certified in all six categories for the second year.
“The numbers remain dismal with respect to women in key leadership roles and the compensation gap,” Lauren Stiller Rikleen, president of the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership and executive in residence at the Boston College Center for Work & Family, said Monday.
“I hope we ultimately see these numbers increase significantly, ensuring that we’re talking about a critical mass of women on compensation committees,” she added. “Based on how long women have been in the profession, we should be half right now.”