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We’re just back from Women En Mass (WEM) 2018, an annual retreat that gives female mass tort leaders the opportunity to learn more about the current industry and to work toward solutions that make a positive impact on the lives of women everywhere.

Some highlights from this year’s gathering include a special group viewing of the powerful and inspiring documentary “RBG”  about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an impressive debut public performance by the all-female-lawyer band “The Dissenters”, and compelling updates on the state of affairs in both politics and mass tort litigation in the country over the past year.

There’s no doubt that women and men are mobilizing all over the country to promote equality — not just in law, but everywhere. If you read the news, you know the #MeToo movement isn’t slowing down. More and more people are coming forward to condemn gender discrimination and sexual harassment and to elevate hard working people based on merit rather than gender.

With all this force toward change, it seems like the gender gap MUST be shrinking rapidly. In law? Not exactly, according to a report by ALM Intelligence.

While there has been an increase in the representation of women at major law firms over the past five years, the 2018 report found that progress has been slow.

ALM drew data from a survey collected in the winter of 2018. Since 2013, the proportion of women associates at Am Law 200 firms (the 200 highest-grossing law firms in the United States) has increased just 2 percent. Women equity partners have increased 4 percent, and the proportion of non-equity women partners has not changed. The infographic to the right provides more statistics about gender diversity in large law firms in 2018.

Speeding Up Progress

Law firm partners have the power to push progress faster. In its report titled, “State of Gender Equality in the Workplace,” Fairygodboss offers the following tips to promote better workplace equality:

  • Make sure your recruiting strategies are aligned with what women seek.
  • Undergo a compensation audit within your firm to check for inequalities.
  • Prioritize gender diversity, particularly within management positions.
  • Support employees with new families by ensuring your firm’s policies are competitive.
  • Engage male leadership in improving gender equality within the firm.
  • Support women’s resource groups to improve women’s engagement levels and open a channel for communication.

Law firms owe a duty to their clients, employees, and themselves to offer equal opportunities and elevate individuals who deserve it.

Interested in getting more involved in closing the gender gap? Consider joining a group like WEM, American Association of University Women, and others to take action and amplify the cause.

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