According to a recent survey released by the Project for Attorney Retention (PAR), WilmerHale outranks its competitors in the overall percentage of women elevated to partnership in 2011. The firm was one of only a short list of firms in which women comprised more than 50% of the most recent partner class; eight of 11 lawyers WilmerHale elevated to partner in 2011 were women.
The number of women attorneys promoted to partner reflects the firm’s strong commitment to diversity and the advancement of women lawyers. Through the efforts of the Women’s Leadership Initiative the firm continues to focus on the development and advancement of women. The framework for the firm’s professional development is its Career Advancement Program, which offers hands-on mentoring, a competency-based approach to professional development, flexible career paths, comprehensive training and a competitive merit-based compensation package. In addition, the firm devotes considerable time and resources to enabling its lawyers (men and women) to lead successful professional and personal lives.
WilmerHale is proud of its above-average rate of elevating women to partner, however, the survey reported that the overall percentage of women attorneys being promoted industry-wide slid one percent since last year—from 34% to nearly 33%. While the decrease is small, PAR Executive Director Manar Morales said, “It has to be viewed in context. There are few female partners to begin with, and even fewer female equity partners. This dip should cause concern because it further delays the day when women lawyers will achieve parity in the profession.”
The survey included 123 law firms selected for inclusion based on prior years’ surveys, firm size and availability of information. Twenty of the firms had new partner classes that were at least half women, an increase over previous years.
PAR, a nonprofit organization that studies the advancement of women lawyers and work-life issues for all lawyers, is headquartered at UC Hastings College of the Law. For more information, visit PAR’s website at www.attorneyretention.org.