A new report published by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession reveals that among lawyers who argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, male lawyers outnumbered female lawyers nearly 3 to 1. The report, called “How Unappealing: An Empirical Analysis of the Gender Gap among Appellate Attorneys,” also looked at the kinds of cases the female lawyers worked on, who they represented and where they worked.
The authors compiled data from all cases argued in front of the 7th Circuit in 2009 and 2019 — for a total of 2,767 lawyer appearances across both years in the Chicago court, which hears cases from districts in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. The report adds to a growing body of research over the last two decades that demonstrates a consistent and persistent pattern of gender disparity in the legal profession.
The findings show that female lawyers argued more often in criminal cases and other cases that involved the government — like immigration and habeas cases — and at lower rates in civil cases. It also shows that female lawyers were considerably less likely to argue the types of cases that normally involve business matters — such as antitrust/securities, contracts, insurance and consumer credit cases.
Authored by Judge Amy J. St. Eve of the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and Jamie B. Luguri, litigation associate at Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles, the report also includes a road map for change for law schools, law firms, clients and courts, recommending practices to increase the number of female lawyers arguing at the appellate level.
- “How Unappealing: An Empirical Analysis of the Gender Gap Among Appellate Attorneys”
- “First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table”
- Commission on Women in the Profession
- ABA Journal