Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.


Finally, is there a faint whiff of gender parity in the legal profession?

Before you get too excited, let me warn you I’m not talking about women surpassing the 18 percent mark in equity partners (yes, women are still in that 15 to 17 percent equity ghetto). Nor am I talking about women taking over the management committee.

No, I’m talking about something more modest—but still notable. In the lateral partner market, women seem to be holding their own. According to Major Lindsey & Africa’s newly released lateral partner satisfaction survey, women’s satisfaction levels were similar to their male counterparts—a departure from MLA’s 2006 survey in which female lateral partners expressed far less satisfaction. “Men and women approach their moves similarly, have similar rates about satisfaction, use recruiters at same percentages,” says Jeffrey Lowe, an MLA partner, about this year’s report.

Of course, men still dominate the lateral partner pool, representing about 80 percent of laterals and roughly reflecting the 80/20 gender composition of partners (equity and nonequity) at major firms. Though female partners are still in the minority, the encouraging news is that they are at least jumping into the lateral game—and not just staying put if they’re unhappy.

So exactly how much are women and men aligned in their lateral experience? Well, the gender gap among lateral partners is not that wide, though you can debate whether the differences are truly negligible:

- Both sexes named “firm culture” as the number one reason to change firms. In fact, both sexes gave almost identical scores to the various reasons for leaving.

- Both sexes were satisfied about client origination at the new firm. Male and female laterals both saw an increase in origination, with women having a slight edge (64.8 percent of women report increase versus 62.4 percent for men).

- Men were more satisfied overall with their new firm: 54.2 percent of men were “very satisfied” with their current firm versus 48.8 percent women.

- Men were also happier with compensation: 39.5 percent of men were “very satisfied” with their compensation at their new firm versus 34.4 percent women. Among those “not very satisfied,” 16.3 percent were women versus only 10.7 percent of men. (The survey didn’t reveal actual compensation totals.)

- Men were more likely to give the firm high marks for being candid: 57.6 percent of men believed their firm was “very candid” about the job versus 49.3 percent of women.

- Few women reviewed the firm’s financial documents before accepting the job. Overall, only 36.6 of all laterals even bothered to look at firm’s financials, but the percentage was even worse for women: Only 28.4 percent of women did versus 38.4 percent of men.

- Female partners were more likely to feel left out of the new firm. 12.6 percent of women felt the firm was “less effective” in integrating them into the partnership versus 6.7 percent of men.

The last two points are particularly troubling—particularly because the MLA survey finds that laterals who did more due diligence ended up being more satisfied. So does that mean that women are less satisfied with their new firm because they failed to do enough financial investigation in the first place?

Jon Lindsey of MLA wouldn’t go that far. “I don’t think there’s a direct correlation with women not looking at the financials and not being as happy,” says Lindsey. “I think there are still bigger problems.”

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 customercare@alm.com

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 © 2017 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.