September 14, 2021

For many law firms, efforts to close the gender gap in their top ranks have made only modest progress. But a number of firms are working to shake up that reality and forging a path to progress.

Law firms have consistently pledged to improve gender parity in their ranks. But significant change for female attorneys in a male-dominated profession — particularly at the top — remains largely elusive. The ranks of equity partners at law firms in the U.S. remain overwhelmingly male.

Our latest survey reveals that while nearly 40% of all attorneys at law firms in the U.S. are women, less than a quarter of equity partners are women, results that are essentially unchanged from last year's report.

Those numbers stand in stark contrast to the numbers of women who have chosen to pursue a legal education. Women have made up at least 40% of law school students for decades and now make up more than half, according to data collected by the American Bar Association.

Still, some firms have been able to make marked progress, and demonstrate the potential and possibilities of law firm efforts to work towards parity.

The firms on our Ceiling Smashers list have found ways to at least begin to improve the representation of women in the most coveted posts at law firms.

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With women making up 44.4% of its partnership, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC ranked No. 3 among firms with 101 to 250 attorneys.

Complete survey results can be viewed here