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The passage of a year has meant little change in the numbers of women lawyers at large Texas firms. Women comprise 28 percent of the lawyers and 15 percent of the partners at the 20 Texas-based firms that were among the 25 highest-grossing firms in Texas last year. Those percentages are unchanged from a year ago, although the firms taken as a whole have slightly more lawyers than they did in November 2000. While law schools are turning out more women, and the percentages of women lawyers at large Texas firms have improved since 1995, it’s a deliberate process. Time will help women dilute the concentrations of male lawyers at large firms, but improvement in the numbers is slowed when women leave firms for family or professional reasons. The inroads women are making into the partnership ranks also are depressed when women choose to drop off the partnership track temporarily when they cut their hours to spend more time with their families. Those aren’t bad choices by any means, but they do affect the statistics of women lawyers at firms. “Every woman you lose hurts your percentages,” says Linda Addison, a member of the executive committee at Fulbright & Jaworski. Addison, a litigator, says women leave firms for many reasons, not just because of family responsibilities, and stay for the same reasons as male lawyers, such as feeling rewarded and valued. “It is certainly important to us to retain women, to retain all of our lawyers. It’s only good business,” she says. ECONOMIC EFFECTS Addison’s firm, Fulbright, is one of the firms that improved its census of women lawyers from 2000 to 2001. Women make up 29 percent of the lawyers at the Houston-based firm, compared to 24 percent in 2000. Eleven percent of the firm’s partners are women, compared to 12 percent a year ago. At 11 of the 20 firms, the percentage of women lawyers increased in 2001, compared to 2000. The percentage declined at eight of the firms. It was unchanged at 55-lawyer Susman Godfrey of Houston. Numbers from both 2001 and 2000 are improved from 1995, when women accounted for closer to a quarter than a third of the lawyers at large Texas firms. At Andrews & Kurth, women make up 30 percent of the firm, an improvement from the 26 percent posted in 2000. But Andrews & Kurth merged with Houston’s Mayor, Day, Caldwell & Keeton in October, a firm that had a higher percentage of women lawyers in 2000. The proportion of women lawyers also improved at Winstead Sechrest & Minick over the last year, a jump to 25 percent from 21 percent. Some firms didn’t fare as well. The number of women lawyers declined by 5 percentage points, to 22 percent from 27 percent, at Jenkens & Gilchrist of Dallas. Managing partner David Laney says he’s not entirely certain why the number of women lawyers took a dip, but he says the firm has brought on a lot of new lawyers in the past year, including a merger in January with 125-lawyer Parker Chapin of New York. The number of women lawyers also declined at Houston’s Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Martin, to 14 percent from 18 percent in 2000. But because the firm has only 90 lawyers, it’s only a net decline of three lawyers. Austin’s Brown McCarroll has 34 percent women lawyers, the highest percentage among the 20 firms on the list. The percentage is 31 percent at Baker Botts, and 30 percent at a number of firms, including Vinson & Elkins, Locke Liddell & Sapp, Haynes and Boone, and Andrews & Kurth. Brown McCarroll is also one of four firms with the highest percentage of women partners — it’s 19 percent at Brown McCarroll, Thompson & Knight, Gardere Wynne Sewell, and Andrews & Kurth. On the low end, women comprise only 10 percent of the partners (or shareholders) at a number of firms including Winstead, Susman Godfrey and Chamberlain Hrdlicka. But Susman Godfrey and Chamberlain Hrdlicka are relatively small firms and haven’t been hiring scores of new associates over the last several years like the largest firms based in Texas. MAKING PARTNER The partner statistics may reveal the most about how firms are accepting women lawyers. Laney says his firm and other large Texas firms are doing a better job about considering flexible work arrangements for women who have family needs, but it can affect career advancement. “We wrestle with the part-time issue, when women step off the conveyor belt into the maternity period,” Laney says. “There’s some incredible talent and we have to accommodate it somehow, and then when you bring some people back into the mainstream after some downtime or time away … it can be a little bit of a more uphill climb.” Laney also says it will be interesting to see if the contracting economy will have an impact on the statistics next year. If firms begin to furlough lawyers, more of the layoffs could come from the women lawyer ranks, he says. “The ones most at risk are the ones least in control of business, and the real risk is to somehow or another leave gender or minority populations unaffected,” he says. But Deborah Ingraham, an administrative law judge in Austin who is president of the State Bar of Texas’ Women in the Law Section, doesn’t find the current numbers surprising. “The law firm life is hard for women, especially women who have children. It’s going to take a shift in the way law firms do business and the way they perceive the value of women in their workplace [for change to occur]. In some ways it’s the same old story,” Ingraham says. Misty Ventura, the president-elect of the State Bar’s Women in the Law Section, says women have choices at large Texas firms. “We can have it all, we just can’t have it all right now,” says Ventura, an associate with Hughes & Luce in Dallas. Gina Culpepper, a shareholder in Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr in Dallas, says she can think of at least eight women friends from law school who have scaled back their work hours at large firms after having children. It happens generally after the second child, she says. “There are a lot of very intelligent, very hard working, motivated people — women — out there who just realized it would be too big of a toll to try to blend successful mother of several children with successful partner,” Culpepper says. “These are not people in dead-end careers,” she notes. Culpepper reduced her work hours in October after returning to the job after the birth of her second child. She is expected to bill 100 hours a month, and participate in client development and recruiting for the firm. She is working about 30 to 35 hours a week. Culpepper says that because her husband, Thomas, is a litigator at Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons in Dallas, she decided it would be too difficult to work full time. “It’s a demanding job when you just have yourself to take care of. It just becomes more and more demanding the more children you add to the situation,” she says. “In my case, when you are married to another attorney or another busy professional … something had to give.” Culpepper says her firm was nothing but accommodating when she proposed a lighter workload, and says several other women at the firm have flexible work arrangements. Related chart: Women Lawyers at Texas Firms

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