By Jacqueline Bell | October 19, 2020, 8:02 PM EDT – For Law360
At most U.S. law firms, equity partners are still overwhelmingly male, but women at some firms are starting to shake up that reality and smash the glass ceiling that has prevented them from advancing to the uppermost ranks.
While U.S. law firms have long professed a desire to achieve gender parity, progress — particularly at the partnership level — has been markedly slow.
Women have made up at least 40% of law school students for decades, according to data collected by the American Bar Association, but less than a quarter of U.S. equity partners are women, according to Law360’s latest survey.
Still, some firms have been able to make measurable progress, and show they are working to make good on their goals of achieving parity.
The firms on this list are finding ways to expand the representation of women in their upper ranks. At many of the largest firms, more than 30% of equity partners are women. At some smaller firms, more than half of equity partners are women.
These firms usher in a different image of what an equity partnership can look like. Some — such as Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP — have more than doubled the industry norm in terms of female representation at the equity partner level.
Here are this year’s Ceiling Smashers — the top 10 firms in each law firm size category that are outpacing their peers as the legal industry works towards closing the gender gap in its top ranks