Is Law Still The Old Boys Club?
6:30 pm, July 24th | by Amy Tennery
We all know that men still outnumber women in business schools by a staggering margin (much to our chagrin). But there’s one post-grad program in which the numbers of men and women are nearly equal: Law school. But while law school is roughly egalitarian, the law firm ranks are anything but. Numerous reports show the upper ranks of many U.S. law firms are as gender diverse as a frat house.
But could all this be changing?
A new report in the National Law Journal (which we found over at the Wall Street Journal) suggests there could be a tide shift. The report shows that at the top 18 big-time U.S. firms, the percentage of women equity partners is on the rise. This is notable on several levels, not the least of which because equity partners have a financial stake in their firms. Women aren’t just getting the titles — they’re getting pieces of the pie.
Of course, we don’t mean to paint too rosy a picture here. The study is careful to note that progress for women in law has been abysmal in most other regards. Across all 200 firms polled in the study, the percentage of female equity partners had remained roughly the same since 2006. Not great news.
And yet, one can’t help but wonder: If the big-time firms are making strides for women, might the others start following suit?