The National Association of Women Lawyers Releases Results of Second National Survey: Income Gap Continues; Women Not Well Represented in Higher Ranks of Firms

Nov 15, 2007, 00:00 ET from National Association of Women Lawyers

    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
     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
     -- 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 or call the NAWL office at 312/988-6186.

SOURCE National Association of Women Lawyers