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Closing the gender gap has been a long-standing problem for law firms. With the number of women associates rising to 47 percent nationally in 2004 and the number of partners lagging at 17.1 percent, the focus has turned from getting women in the front door at firms to keeping them from walking out the back. Earlier this year the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia held four open forums, where 200-plus D.C. lawyers analyzed Washington firms. “If we in D.C. can’t do this, then it’s going to be very hard across the country,” says Howrey partner Karen Lockwood, the president of the association who spearheaded the project. The result: a 56-page book that reports on the issue of women in law firms and gives recommendations such as allowing part-time lawyers to receive credit toward partnership positions and formalizing women mentors for female associates. The one thing the book doesn’t do, however, is show how D.C. firms rank when it comes to promoting women.
Anna Palmer can be contacted at [email protected].

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