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Fifty San Francisco Bay Area law firms and businesses have pledged that a quarter of their leadership positions will be filled by women by 2004. The Bar Association of San Francisco’s “No Glass Ceiling” task force on Tuesday released names of the participating firms, all of whom signed a seven-point pledge designed to ensure women get equal representation in the higher echelons of business. Mary Cranston, chairwoman of the task force and of Pillsbury Winthrop, said she expects even more firms and businesses to sign up. And, Cranston said, BASF plans to send a copy of the pledge to other bar associations in the country. Angela Bradstreet, BASF’s president and a partner at Carroll, Burdick & McDonough, said few firms declined to sign the pledge. “I can count on one hand the firms who didn’t sign up.” And those that didn’t sign the pledge — including firms such as Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — don’t necessarily disagree with the goals. James Gilliland Jr., chairman of Townsend and Townsend and Crew, said some of the BASF goals were “unrealistic, especially for an IP patent firm.” “There’s not as many women lawyers” in this field,” Gilliland said, “and I didn’t want to promise anything I couldn’t deliver by 2004.” Gilliland pointed out that the firm’s managing partner of operations is a woman, and the firm is committed to the same outcome BASF wants, “but I know we can’t make the 25 percent in the time they want.” In all, 36 law firms with Bay Area offices have signed the pledge, which includes putting women in leadership positions with at least one chairwoman or managing partner; maintaining equal retention rates for male and female attorneys; and paving the way for part-time partners and flexible work schedules. The impetus for the pledge came from the American Bar Association’s report “The Unfinished Agenda” on the status of women in the legal profession. According to the report, women account for 30 percent of all practicing attorneys and only 5 percent of the managing partners at large law firms. In 1989, BASF received pledges from most of the Bay Area’s biggest firms that minorities would make up 10 percent of their partner ranks by 2000. BASF Executive Director Teveia Barnes said the recent drop in the economy kept that goal from being met. “But, I think that as long as people and law firms are held accountable for their actions and at least try to make the goals, they should be applauded,” Barnes said. The law firms signing up were Allen Matkins Leck Gamble & Mallory; Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison; Bullivant Houser Bailey; Carroll, Burdick & McDonough; Cooley Godward; Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May; Farella Braun & Martel; Fenwick & West; Folger Levin & Kahn; Gordon & Rees; Hancock Rothert & Bunshoft; Hanson, Bridgett, Marcus, Vlahos & Rudy; Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe; Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin; Keker & Van Nest; Latham & Watkins; Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein; Littler Mendelson; McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen; Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach; Morrison & Foerster; Murphy Sheneman Julian & Rogers; Nixon Peabody; O’Melveny & Myers; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker; Pillsbury Winthrop; Preston Gates & Ellis; Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold; Shartsis, Friese & Ginsburg; Shook, Hardy & Bacon; Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal; Steefel, Levitt & Weiss; Thelen Reid & Priest; and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

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