April 29, 2014 Practice Points

Women Run Only Seven of the Largest 100 U.S. Law Firms

By Suzanne L. Jones

According to a recent Law360 article, women hold top leadership positions in only seven of the largest 100 U.S. law firms.  These seven female leaders serve as chairman, managing partner, or co-managing partner in the following firms:

FEMALE LEADERS OF TOP 100 U.S. LAW FIRMS

NAME

FIRM

TITLE

Susan Murley

WilmerHale

Co-Managing Partner

Lisa "Lee" Schreter

Littler Mendelson

Chairman of the Board

Regina Pisa

Goodwin Procter

Chairman

Kim Koopersmith

Akin Gump

Chairperson

Jerry Clements

Locke Lord

Chairman

Elizabeth Sharrer

Holland & Hart

Firm Chair

Kimberly Johnson

Quarles & Brady

Firm Chair

In October of this year, two other women will be added to the list: Jami Wintz McKeon will become the firm chair of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP and Therese Pritchard will become the chair of Bryan Cave LLP.

Experts say that the low rate of women law firm leaders is a product of firms failing to provide adequate mentorship and advancement opportunities.  There is also a lingering misconception that women lack the “confidence or aggression to tackle the caseload or client development demands to get to the top spot, much less the responsibilities of the top spot itself.”  To break down these barriers, Ms. Pritchard, who will be the first woman chairman at Bryan Cave, suggests that law firms need to create more opportunities for women, including flexible work schedules and equal access to client development opportunities.  Women must also confront the “old boys’ network,” which requires mentorship and aggressively pursuing a “rainmaker” practice. 

Keywords: woman advocate, litigation, leadership positions

Suzanne L. Jones works at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in Minneapolis, Minnesota


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