September 06, 2012 Practice Points

More Women General Counsel at Fortune 500 Companies

By Louise N. Smith

According to a survey that will appear in its upcoming bi-monthly publication of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), women served as general counsel at 21 percent of Fortune 500 companies in 2011—more than ever before. According to MCCA’s annual survey, 108 women served as general counsel in 2011 compared with 101 the previous year.

Approximately 16 percent of female general counsel identified themselves as minorities, making the 2011 group the most diverse since the inception of MCCA’s annual survey in 1999. The 2011 group included 11 African Americans, four Hispanics, two Asian/Pacific Islanders, and one of Middle Eastern origin.

About 50 percent of female general counsel in 2011 worked at Fortune 500 companies located in six states: California (12 companies), New York (11 companies), Texas (10 companies), Illinois (eight companies), New Jersey (seven companies), and Virginia (seven companies).

The number of female general counsel has grown significantly, with 23 added since 2009. Joseph K. West, MCCA president and CEO, commented that he “see[s] this trend continuing as more companies recognize the outstanding legal and leadership skills of these professional women.”

Keywords: litigation, woman advocate, Fortune 500 companies, general counsel, diversity

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