Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Chicago-Kirkland & Ellis partner Linda Myers was recently trying to catch a female attorney who had been interviewing for a job at the firm’s Chicago office before the recruit left the building. Myers was determined to make sure the prospect from a rival firm got a same-day offer. “I wanted to give her the message that when we find what we want, we go for it,” Myers said. Kirkland & Ellis is one of the 48 firms making progress in a pledge to increase the number of female partners at its Chicago office by at least 3% by the end of next year, compared with 2004. Jenner & Block; Baker & McKenzie; and McDermott, Will & Emery are also participating in the initiative, launched last year by a Chicago Bar Association committee called the “Alliance for Women.” An impetus for the project was the fact that Chicago’s biggest firms had fewer female partners than the national average, 17%. So far, Baker & McKenzie, the largest firm in the world, has increased its percentage of female Chicago partners to 19% from 15% in 2004. Kirkland has risen to 19% from 18%, McDermott has climbed to 27% from 25%, and Jenner & Block to 20% from 16%. While the firms have been hiring equal numbers of male and female associates for years, now they’re trying to create better environments for female advancement, attorneys involved in the project said. The firms also are trying to increase female ranks by hiring away qualified women from rival firms and doing a better job of retaining and promoting women. “You’re not going to make meaningful changes without women at the table,” said Lynn Grayson, a Jenner & Block partner who was one of the originators of the project. While women leading the project say they haven’t personally encountered discrimination at firms, they believe there is more that can be done to help women advance. For instance, McDermott is making a stronger effort to give plum projects to a variety of its lawyers, including women and minorities, said Andrea Kramer, a partner at the firm who sits on its management committee. “That’s forcing our colleagues to understand that they can’t just go to the guy that looks like them,” Kramer said. None of the firms has reached the finish line early on all five objectives, Grayson said. The goals also include reviewing flexible work-hour policies and adding women to leadership positions. Midterm results, through 2005, are just now being tallied, said Grayson, who was not willing to release overall figures yet. Supporters of the project consider it a success already because it has increased awareness and provided a means to measure the influence of female attorneys for firm managements and for clients demanding more diverse legal teams, Grayson said. “Our fantasy would be to have the top 100 firms in Chicago,” Grayson said. “We see it as the beginning, not the end.”

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

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

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


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 © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.