June 13, 2011 Practice Points

Promotion of Women to Partnership Stalled in 2011

By Patricia O'Prey

A report by the Project for Attorney Retention (PAR) found that women lawyers continue to lag behind their male peers in becoming law firm partners. In fact, new male partners outnumbered new female partners by more than two to one in 2011, according to PAR.  Worse, the number of promotions of women has continued to decrease year after year. In 2011, for example, the promotion rate of women at 123 large U.S. law firms surveyed fell 2 percentage points this year, from 34 percent to 32 percent. In fact, a number of law firms did not promote a single woman to partnership in 2011, despite promoting numerous partners. The report did include some good news, however. Of the 123 firms surveyed, 20 had new partner classes that were at least half women—an increase over prior years.  

Patricia O'Prey works at Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP in New York, New York.

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