NAWL Foundation Announces Release of 2013 Survey of Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms
(Chicago, IL) - The NAWL Foundation has announced that it has fielded the 2013 Survey of Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms, the 8th year in which the Foundation and its sister organization, NAWL, have sponsored objective research about the status of women in law firms and the factors that enhance or impeded the advancement of women in firms. The 2013 Survey will focus on benchmarking the roles that men and women play in law firm positions, and cover such issues as: are women joining firms, as new associates or laterals, at the same rate as they were five years ago? Has there been progress in equalizing pay between women and men lawyers who are at the same level of seniority? Are there certain types of governance structures that are more likely to advance women than others? To what extent are the dynamics the same or different for women of color? How does law firm succession planning – or the lack of it – impact the prospects for advancement of women?
The NAWL Survey is the only national study of the nation's 200 largest law firms which annually tracks the progress of women lawyers at all levels of private practice, including the most senior positions, and collects data on firms as a whole rather than from a subset of individual lawyers. The results of the 2013 Survey are expected to be published in Fall 2013.
NAWL Foundation President Speaks at Women's Initiatives Webinar
Gender Bias Against Women in the Law
Where We Are and What We Can Do About It
April 18, 2013
Although women have been graduating from law school in large numbers for several decades, many fewer women than men have advanced into senior law firm positions and leadership roles. Since 2006, NAWL and the NAWL Foundation have surveyed law firms on their retention and promotion of women lawyers, and most recently on the role played by Women's Initiatives for advancing legal careers. The results offer surprises as well as recommendations for women lawyers and their firms. NAWL, the Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law, the CBA Alliance, and Ms. JD have joined together to co-sponsor a presentation on the latest research into women's initiatives in law firms. Come learn more about this unique research, its implications for eliminating gender bias and the steps firms can take to advance women lawyers.
Jennifer K. Gust, Partner, Hinshaw and Culbertson LLP
Board Member, Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law
Stephanie A. Scharf, Partner, Scharf Banks Marmor LLC
President, NAWL Foundation
Janet Wallace, Associate, Duggan Smith & Heath LLP
Vice President, Ms. JD
Leslie Richards-Yellen, Partner/Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Hinshaw and Culbertson LLP/Board Member, National Association of
To view the report on the National Survey of Women's Initiatives, please click here for the report.
For more information visit www.nawl.org
Sandberg's Lean In Movement
The 2012 National Survey on the Retention and Promotion of Women Report was referenced in the "The Am Law Daily" article "Five Am Law 200 Firms Join Sandberg's "Lean In" Campaign.
To read the report and the article click on the titles.
NAWL Foundation Board Members in the News
March 7, 2013 NAWL Foundation Board President Stephanie Scharf will speak at the ABA Midwest Regional Summit for Women General Counsel and Senior Women In-House Counsel, "Capture Your Power: Your Role in Advancing Yourself and Other Women in the Legal Profession," on the topic "The Power of the Purse: Who Has It and How Do You Get It." Ms. Scharf is a partner at the firm Scharf Banks Marmor LLC.
On March 1, 2013 NAWL Foundation Board President Stephanie Scharf spoke at the New York University School of Law Symposium "Breaking the Glass Ceciling" on the topic, "Gravel to the Class: Strategies for Reform." She was joined by NAWL Foundation Board Member Roberta Liebenberg who spoke on a panel entitled "Bridging the Divide between Firm Expectations and Women's Choice." Ms. Scharf is a partner at the firm Scharf Banks Marmor LLC. Ms. Liebenberg is a senior partner at the firm Fine Kaplan Black RPC.
In the February 23, 2013 edition of Crain's Chicago Business, NAWL Foundation Board Member Nancy Laben was interviewed for the article "Why the General Counsel's Job is Becoming Women's Work". Click to read the article. Ms. Laben is Senior Vice President and Legal General Counsel at AECOM.
Roberta Liebenberg Honored at Chambers Women in Law Awards Ceremony
Roberta Liebenberg, a partner at Fine, Kaplan and Black in Philadelphia, was the recipient of the inaugural award for "Outstanding Contributions to Gender Diversity and Equality" at the Chambers Women in Law Awards ceremony in New York City on January 15, 2013. Ms. Liebenberg currently serves as Chair of the American Bar Association's Gender Equity Task Force. She previously served as Chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession; Chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession; and Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association Women in the Profession Committee.
Women Notch Progress
Women’s Initiatives in BigLaw Are Abundant and ‘Woefully Underfunded,’ Report Says
First-Ever National Survey of Women's Initiatives In Law Firms-Released by NAWL Foundation
(Chicago, IL) – Today, The NAWL Foundation®, the research and charitable arm of the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), released the results of its National Survey of Women's Initiatives: The Strategy, Structure And Scope Of Women's Initiatives In Law Firms, the first-ever national survey of its kind. The Survey provides benchmark data about the types of activities that take place under the sponsorship of women's affinity groups in law firms, the funding, oversight and expectations for such groups, and the factors that enhance or impede the success of women's initiatives. Among the conclusions of the study are that women's initiatives need to take a more strategic approach to their goals and activities, and also that firms are not devoting enough resources to women's initiatives, especially in light of the positive business impact that strong women's affinity groups can provide.
NAWL Foundation President Stephanie Scharf, author of the study, expressed the Foundation's "excitement at sponsoring and bringing the results of this research to the legal profession. For the first time, law firms and women's initiatives will have objective data with which to assess their activities and make decisions going forward about how their women's initiatives can best work to advance women lawyers."
"In describing the strategy, financing, governance, structure and scope of activities of women's initiatives, the Survey provides a national context for assessing the impact of women's initiatives," said Barbara Flom, co-Chair of the NAWL National Survey Committee and Secretary of the NAWL Foundation. "An important message from the results is the need to focus more clearly on concrete strategies and techniques to enable women lawyers to advance in firms."
Pat Gillette, co-Chair of the NAWL National Survey Committee and partner at Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe LLP, observed that "our hope is that law firms use the data from the Survey to enhance the impact of their women's initiatives – to understand how women's initiatives can be important to the business of the firm and provide the support that women's initiatives deserve."
Roberta Liebenberg, NAWL Foundation Board Member and a partner at Fine Kaplan and Black, said "Unfortunately, the pace of progress for women at most law firms has been unacceptably slow, and therefore the NAWL National Survey on Women Initiatives is vitally important because it shines a much-needed spotlight on innovative and effective strategies that law firms can utilize to empower their women lawyers and enable them to advance and succeed. Women's Initiatives can be an effective vehicle to make sure that women lawyers are being provided with fair and equitable assignments; are given appropriate origination credit; and are being groomed for succession and for leadership positions within the firm."
Findlaw: Troubling Statistics on the Progress of Women Lawyers
The Pay Gap - Forbes
ABA Journal: Women in Big Law Firms Survey Report
American Lawyer Article on 7th Annual National Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms
National Association of Women Lawyers and NAWL Foundation Releases Seventh Annual National Survey
CHICAGO – Today, the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL®) and The NAWL Foundation® released the results of their seventh annual Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms. The Survey is the only national study of the nation's 200 largest law firms which annually tracks the progress of women lawyers at all levels of private practice, including the most senior positions, and collects data on firms as a whole rather than from a subset of individual lawyers.
"We are disappointed that women lawyers are still not reaching the highest levels of big-firm practice or leadership in significant numbers," said NAWL President Beth Kaufman, Partner at Schoeman Updike & Kaufman LLP in New York. And the pipeline of women available for advancement may be shrinking: for the second year in a row, the proportion of women entering big-firm practice has decreased. If this trend continues, it could trigger a downward spiral for women in the profession -- we could see fewer women senior partners and law firm leaders in the future, and thus fewer role models and mentors for succeeding cohorts of women lawyers.
"The Survey has repeatedly found that law firm structure has important effects on women's career paths," said Barbara Flom, author of the Survey Report and Secretary of The NAWL Foundation. Women have a notably greater chance to become partners in one-tier firms than in two-tier firms. Moreover, women are increasingly clustered in positions – such as staff attorney, counsel, and fixed-income equity partner – with little opportunity for advancement or participation in law firm leadership. It is particularly troubling to find that women constitute 70% of staff attorneys, a low-status, non-partner-track role, and that many of these women have been practicing law for more than a decade.
The Survey once again found that women's compensation lags men's at all levels, although this year the gap between male and female equity partner compensation has slightly narrowed. NAWL Foundation President Stephanie Scharf, a Partner at Scharf Banks Marmor LLC in Chicago, who founded the NAWL Annual Survey, noted that "the gap between male and female compensation at the equity partner level does not correlate with male/female differences in billable hours, total hours or books of business, begging the question of how firms actually set compensation for their partners."
Highlights of the Survey include:
• Female flight from big-firm practice starts early and accelerates over time; the only countervailing trend is in the lower-status staff attorney role, where women are an increasing majority.
• Women are substantially more likely to reach the equity partner position at one-tier firms; they are least likely to reach the equity partner position at two-tier AmLaw 100 firms.
• Women's median compensation lags men's at all levels, with the greatest discrepancy at the equity partner level, where women typically earn only 89% of what men make.
• Women's median billable and total hours generally lag men's at all levels; however, for nonbillable hours, women above the associate level record significantly more hours than men. Pro bono hours are typically negligible for both men and women above the associate level.
• Women partners are credited with a smaller median book of business than men, even though their business development efforts may be substantial.
• The gap between the median compensation of male and female equity partners cannot be explained by differences in billable hours, total hours, or books of business.
• Women still typically hold only 20% of the positions on a firm's highest governance committee, and only 4% of firms have a woman as the firm-wide managing partner.
The full NAWL Survey Report can be accessed by visiting: nawl.org or nawlfoundation.org
Since 1899, the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL®) has been committed to fostering diversity and advancing women in the legal profession. NAWL is the only national women's bar association with individual and organizational members nationwide, including law firms, law firm attorneys, corporations, in-house counsel, government attorneys, law schools, and law school professors. Please visit www.nawl.org.
NAWL Foundation Announces the Appointment of Stephanie A. Scharf to the ABA Commission on Women In The Profession
(Chicago, IL) – The American Bar Association has appointed Stephanie A. Scharf, President of The NAWL Foundation and Partner at Scharf Banks Marmor LLP, to serve on the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession. The Commission is comprised of twelve members appointed by the ABA President. Its mission is to secure the full and equal participation of women in the ABA, the legal profession, and the justice system. Mary B. Cranston, Senior Partner and immediate past Chair of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, is the new chair of the ABA Commission. In 2005, Ms. Cranston was the recipient of the Margaret Brent Award, the American Bar Association’s highest award for women lawyers given for legal excellence and for paving the way for other women lawyers. “I have known Stephanie Scharf for many years and have the highest respect for her leadership and commitment to advancing women in the legal profession,” stated Ms. Cranston. “As a Past President of the National Association of Women Lawyers, Stephanie created many new platforms for the voice of women in the profession to be heard. She introduced cutting-edge research through her work at NAWL that has had massive impact on the legal profession. We are thrilled that she is joining the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. She is a distinguished lawyer and a champion of women,” stated Ms. Cranston. In 2006 Ms. Scharf designed and launched the NAWL Annual Survey of Retention and Promotion of Women in Law firms. The survey, which has been conducted annually since 2006, is the only national study of the nation’s 200 largest law firms that annually tracks at all levels of private practice, including the most senior positions. Formed in 2008, The NAWL Foundation has become a leading center for innovative research and education about women in the law. Ms. Scharf joins two other NAWL Foundation Directors currently serving on the ABA Commission, Patricia Gillette, partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, and Lisa Horowitz, Director of Professional Development at McDermott Will & Emery LLP. NAWL Foundation Director Roberta D. Liebenberg, partner at Fine, Kaplan & Black, R.P.C., chaired the ABA Commission from 2008 to 2012. “I am honored and delighted to serve on the ABA Commission,” stated Ms. Scharf. “Since its founding, the ABA Commission has made significant contributions to the advancement of women in the law. I look forward to working with my fellow volunteers and incoming President Laurel Bellows to continue the important work being done,” she added. Ms. Scharf received a Ph.D. in Behavioral Sciences/Psychology and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. Prior to forming Scharf Banks Marmor, she was at partner at Schoeman, Updike & Kaufman LLP, Jenner & Block LLP and Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Ms. Scharf concentrates her legal practice on complex litigation. She has represented clients in federal and state courts nationwide. She has been named by Diversity & the Bar as a Top Women Lawyer, Law Dragon magazine as a Leading Litigator and has been listed in Illinois SuperLawyers every year since 2005. She received the Product Liability Advisory Council’s Presidents Award in 2011. Before practicing law, she was a University Harper Fellow and Senior Study Director at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC).
NAWL Foundation Appoints General Counsel
(Chicago, IL) – The NAWL Foundation has appointed Harold J. Ruvoldt, a partner at Hodgson Russ, General Counsel to the NAWL Foundation Board, announced Stephanie A. Scharf, President of The NAWL Foundation and Partner at Scharf Banks Marmor LLP.
Mr. Ruvoldt concentrates his practice in complex civil litigation and white-collar criminal litigation. He has tried more than 150 cases to verdict in both state and federal courts, and he has represented clients in trials in each of the continental United States. In addition Mr. Ruvoldt has published "A Way to Get to 'What if...?'" Directors & Boards Board Oversight Section. Mr. Ruvoldt lectures at bar associations, management retreats and conferences, and marketing programs as both a substantive lecturer and a motivational speaker.
Ms. Scharf stated “I have known Harold for a number of years and admired his legal and practical approaches to Board matters. He is familiar with the Foundation and its history through NAWL as well as working generally on matters that involve advising Boards and Board members. He will be a great asset to the NAWL Foundation Board.
NAWL Foundation Announces Three New Board Members
(Chicago, IL) - Sara D. Lipscomb (General Counsel, Small Business Administration), JoAnne A. Epps (Dean, Beasley School of Law-Temple University), and Patricia K. Gillette (Partner, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP) will join the NAWL Foundation Board effective July 1, 2012.
(Newark, NJ) - On May 23 2012, over 120 guests, representing all facets of the legal community, attended theNational Association of Women Lawyer’s (NAWL) Foundation Spring Reception at the headquarters of Gibbons PC in Newark New Jersey. Christine Amalfe, a director at Gibbons, and Holly English, a partner at Nukk-Freeman & Cerra, P.C. co-chaired the event. Ms. Amalfe and Ms. English also serve on The NAWL Foundation Board of Directors.
Washington, D.C. Roundtable on Women’s Initiatives
(Washington, D.C.) - On May 17, 2012, the NAWL Foundation hosted a Roundtable Discussion on Women’s Initiatives led by Karen Lockwood, CEO of the Lockwood Group. The impetus for the Roundtable was the Foundation’s national survey on women’s initiatives, whose results are scheduled for publication in July 2012. Foundation Board Member Lisa Horowitz, Director of Professional Development at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, hosted the event, held at the Willard Business Center. Attending the Roundtable were women leaders from Reed Smith LLP, Sidley Austin LLP, White & Case LLP, Dickstein Schapiro LLP, and McDermott Will & Emery, LLP. Also joining the Roundtable was Foundation President Stephanie Scharf, a principal in the law firm Scharf Banks Marmor LLC, as well as a social psychologist who designed the Foundation’s Survey.
New York Roundtable on Women's Initiatives
(New York, NY) - On January 31 2012, the NAWL Foundation hosted a Roundtable Discussion on Women's Initiatives at the law offices of Hodgson Russ in New York City. The Roundtable highlighted the results of the Foundation’s recent national survey of women’s initiatives, the first ever study of its kind. The Roundtable was facilitated by Karen Kahn, CEO of Threshold Advisors, and by NAWL Foundation President Stephanie Scharf, a principal in Scharf Banks Marmor LLC, who designed the Survey. Cathy Fleming, a Member of the NAWL Foundation Board and Managing Partner of the New York office of Hodgson Russ along with Foundation Vice-President Lorraine Koc, hosted the event. Women leaders from Cooley LLP, DLA Piper, Greenberg Traurig LLP, Holland and Knight LLP, Jones Day LLP, Kirkland Ellis LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP participated in the Roundtable.
(Chicago, IL) - The NAWL Foundation hosted its Fall Reception on November 15, 2011 in the magnificent atrium lobby of the Hyatt Hotels Corporate Offices at 71 South Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois. Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, Rena Reiss, generously provided Hyatt’s hospitality for the evening. Guests enjoyed wine, appetizers and lively conversation with new and existing friends. NAWL Foundation President Stephanie Scharf, Partner at Scharf Banks & Marmor LLC, chaired the event and welcomed the crowd of nearly 150 people representing all facets of the legal community. Ms. Scharf provided a brief overview of the Foundation’s cutting edge research on advancement of women in the legal profession and announced the Foundation’s newest initiative, the Project Against Sex Trafficking. “Child sex trafficking has been a long hidden social travesty. One study estimates that almost 200,000 incidents of child sex trafficking occur each year in the United States,” stated Ms. Scharf. “The NAWL Foundation is supporting the development of legal models for the rescue of child victims and the necessary tools for prosecutors to build cases against child sex traffickers.”