Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
The glass ceiling at Bay Area law offices has lifted a bit over the past few years, according to a Bar Association of San Francisco survey released Tuesday. Almost two-thirds of the firms responding to the survey reported that at least 25 percent of all partners were female. And an even higher percentage of firms reported that at least 25 percent of firm managers were women. Both numbers are up substantially from a similar survey conducted as part of BASF’s “No Glass Ceiling” initiative two years ago, when only 22 percent of respondents reported that at least a quarter of partners were women. But the surveys are hard to compare because they were done differently and didn’t include the same firms. Since the initiative was announced three years ago, about 80 local law firms, legal departments and public law offices have pledged to boost the number of female partners and managers. But Tuesday’s results only reflect data from the 51 offices that responded. “Results show huge strides, but one does want to know why there was not a 100 percent response rate,” said task force co-chair Angela Bradstreet, managing partner at Carroll, Burdick & McDonough. Future actions for the task force include following up with firms that did not respond to the survey and that haven’t met their commitments, she added. While signatories are not named in the survey data, BASF said it was honoring a handful of firms and offices for their high percentages of female partners and managers. Among the firms with the most lawyers in San Francisco, BASF singled out Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and Heller Ehrman. In the mid-sized category, it recognized Folger Levin & Kahn, Foley & Lardner, and Shook, Hardy & Bacon. The S.F. City Attorney’s Office, the S.F. Public Defender’s Office and The Gap Inc.’s legal department were also honored. The pledge “certainly had an impact,” said S.F. City Attorney Dennis Herrera Tuesday. “It was a motivating factor for me from a managerial perspective, allowing us to benchmark the commitment we were making and quantify it.” BASF “focused and crystallized the issue,” said Jessica Pers, a partner at Heller Ehrman and a member of the task force. “That perhaps has had some impact, but it is more a function of providing women opportunities to do interesting legal work.” Many of the honored offices agree that while the initiative has brought the issue to the fore, it has not changed policies, largely, they said, because these firms were already hiring, promoting and retaining more women. “A lot of clients want diverse attorneys representing them,” said Tammy Webb, administrative partner at Shook, Hardy. “Women in this office are seen as the go-to people for our clients.” The key to retention is providing women lawyers with opportunities, and having reduced work schedule and family leave policies that don’t carry negative consequences, explained Folger Levin partner Margaret Murray. Bradstreet said San Francisco was leading the way for the rest of the country, adding that she’s taken calls from bar associations in other cities interested in starting similar efforts. Two years ago, a national survey found that 16 percent of law firm partners were women. “Diversity makes for a great workplace for everybody; it is embedded in how we think and how we work here,” said Lauri Shanahan, The Gap’s general counsel. “Every single person in this department owns diversity.”

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.