Presence, Power and Lack of Women in the Legal Industry


WomanWithout agenda except for a simple statement of a fundamental fact: women have long been under-represented in the top ranks of law firms. Not to say that nothing has been done and not to say that women are close to giving up; it’s just the case at the moment.

This, however, might not be the case for very long. New data presents a slight glimmer of hope and suggests that progress may be on its way. Women are slowly rising into power equipped with experience and degrees earned from universities and online schools, like The Center for Legal Studies.

Women on Top

New studies identify several independent law firms and associations putting notable women into positions of power. One of which is the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF), a group that aims to hold law firms accountable for putting women in top roles.

This year alone, they honored 44 law firms that notably stepped up in the patriarchal industry during their fifth annual Gold Standard Certification. With this recognition comes a form of encouragement women rarely witness.

Power Play

The average percentage of women on governance committees of the honored firms was 27% and on compensation committees was 25%. According to WILEF, these positions are crucial to helping the rest of the women in the organization or firm advance.

Despite the apparent progress in the Big Boys league, which in itself is already commendable, women are still lagging behind. Of the 44 law firms WILEF honored, none of them are New York based firms or firms with the highest profits per partner.

What is apparent is the struggle of sexes surrounding probably one of the most fundamental sectors of the society. In 2014, women lawyers earned approximately 83% of what their male legal counterparts earned. What is astounding is not the number, but that this still needed to be stated.