A survey released Monday by Project for Attorney Retention shows law firms have “made significant advances in retaining and promoting their women lawyers” during the last year. According to the survey, 34 percent of new partners this year have been female, which is up from 28 percent in 2009.
Of the 118 law firms taking part in the study, 23 had new partner classes that were at least 50 percent female. Topping that list were Sullivan and Cromwell, Munger Tolles and Weil Gotshal, each of which have had partner classes that’s 100 percent female.
On the flip side, 14 firms that have made at least two new partners this year have yet to promote a female.
Cynthia Thomas, director of research at PAR, commented on the survey’s findings in a press release.
“The increase in the number of women promoted to partner is heartening,” Thomas said. “But two factors indicate that celebration would be premature: first, the overall number of women partners in law firms remains low, at approximately 19 percent, and second, this survey made no distinction between equity and non-equity partnership, and other studies have shown that an even lower percentage of equity partners are female.”
The Project for Attorney Retention is a nonprofit organization that studies the advancement of women lawyers and work/life issues for all lawyers. It is headquartered at UC Hastings College of the Law.