CHICAGO, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL)(R) released the results of NAWL's second national Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms. The Survey is the only national study of the nation's 200 largest law firms which (a) annually tracks the progress of women lawyers at all levels of private practice, including the most senior roles, at the same time that it (b) collects data from entire firms rather than from a selection of individuals. Among its findings, the Survey shows that there is a growing income gap between men and women lawyers as they move up the partnership ranks, that the large majority of women who start as associates in firms are not promoted to equity positions or law firm leadership roles, and that law firm governance is overwhelmingly male, with fully 15% of the surveyed firms lacking a female on its top committee. "Measuring the progress of women in the law is a vital aim for the National Association of Women Lawyers," said NAWL President Holly English, of counsel to Post, Polak, Goodsell, MacNeill & Strauchler, P.A., in Roseland, N.J. "We are very pleased that the majority of the nation's large firms responded to the NAWL Survey and that we see more persuasively than ever the kinds of progress that women lawyers have achieved in the legal profession, as well as the significant challenges that remain. NAWL's annual Survey insures that we are all aware of where firms need to concentrate their efforts to ensure gender equity." In more detail, the 2007 Survey overall shows continuing gender imbalance at senior levels of law firms, on such factors as promotion to equity partnership, participation in high levels of law firm governance, and compensation. Among the findings of the survey: -- At each level of promotion, male lawyers earn more than females. Male of-counsels earn roughly $20,000 more than females, male non-equity partners earn roughly $27,000 more than females, and male equity partners earn almost $90,000 more than female equity partners. -- Hard work pays off for men much more than for women. At firms with high hours requirements, male equity partners earn a whopping $140,000 more than women in the same position. -- Women's representation at the level of equity partnership -- those partners who own a portion of the firm and enjoy the greatest compensation, prestige and power -- accounts in the average large firm for only one in six of all equity partners. The Survey shows a continuing lack of progress in moving women lawyers into more senior positions, even as they continue to be productive and profitable for their firms. -- Law firm governance is overwhelmingly conducted by male lawyers. Women comprise only 15% of the members of law firms' highest governing committees and fewer than 10% of managing partners. A remarkable 15% of large firms have no women lawyers on their highest governing committee. -- Firms today are more liberal about allowing part-time practice, which may enhance their ability to retain women lawyers grappling with work and family responsibilities, and almost all firms have implemented women's initiatives, although their content varies widely along with their prospects for effectiveness. NAWL is the leading national voluntary organization devoted to the interests of women lawyers and women's rights. Founded over 100 years ago, NAWL has members in all 50 states and engages in a variety of programs and activities to advance its mission. For more information please visit http://www.nawl.org or call the NAWL office at 312/988-6186.
SOURCE National Association of Women Lawyers