On October 24, 2023, Elizabeth Manno co-authored “How Unconscious Bias Keeps Women from Advancing at Law Firms” in the Washington Business Journal. The following is an excerpt:
The attrition of women and attorneys from diverse backgrounds from law firms has long been recognized by the legal industry as a problem. Research demonstrates that organizations are more effective when their employees have diverse viewpoints, so this persistent loss of talent and experience is a detriment to the legal profession that law firms should address.
The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) has collected data on the state of women in the 200 largest U.S. law firms for over 15 years, culminating with the 2021 Survey Report on the Promotion and Retention of Women in Law Firms. NAWL’s research demonstrates the steady attrition of women from law firms over time. Specifically, since 2005, women have entered big law firms as associates in a roughly equal percentage to their male counterparts. Yet, even as recently as 2021, women represented only 22% of equity partners. That represents only an incremental improvement upon the 16% of equity partners women represented when the NAWL Survey began in 2005.
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