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Gender Diversity in Law

For more than a decade, half of all law school graduates have been female.

Firms are actively recruiting females in proportionate numbers industry-wide. And yet, few women are advancing from the associate level to partner or executive levels. Why?


Women make up only a small percentage of equity (19%) and non-equity partners (30%) at law firms across the country, and nearly all firms (97%) report that their top earner is a man. 

At all levels of law, women receive only 90-94% of the pay that a man in the same position earns. 

When we broaden the scope of review outside of women, the need for strong inclusion and diversity strategies becomes paramount:

  • people of color make up only 6% of equity partners
  • women of color and openly LGBTQ lawyers each represent only 2% of equity partners
  • people with disabilities represent fewer than 1% of all equity partners in the industry 


As an industry, law firms know that supporting diversity and inclusion is paramount to success. The same report that revealed the pay disparity and leadership diversity statistics in law also found that every participating firm—100%—reported that a women’s initiative is part of their firm’s diversity plan and 87.5% had resources devoted specifically to their diversity efforts.


Women’s initiatives and inclusion efforts show more impact as they become mature; the sooner a program is enacted, the sooner a firm will see leadership and culture results.

Law firms with more established women’s initiatives have larger numbers of female equity partners.

Initiatives have a real, positive impact on the pay gap, as firms with established women’s leadership programs reflect a much smaller difference (94%) in what women earn compared to counterparts.


Gild Collective offers services that can help your law firm create a workplace strategy that advances women at all levels: