Submitted by jessie
Ahh, December. 'Tis the season to be announcing new partnership classes. And bemoaning the persistent gender gap in positions of leadership in our glorious profession.
As you've no doubt heard, women represent a distinct minority of women partners at large law firms. And their scarcity serves as a proxy for the issues facing women in every sector of the profession, where women have represented a static below-20% in virtually every category of leadership (tenured faculty, federal judges, general counsel, etc., etc. ).
Every year new partnership classes are announced. Sometimes they include women. Sometimes they include lots of women. Sometimes they do not. And when this is the case, I hear people say, "well there must not have been anyone qualified." And that it's ok "because the last two years they promoted a number of women." Or something to that effect.
But it's not ok. If there are no qualified women in your law firm that is not a random occurrence over which the firm had no control. That is a major epic failure. And should you find yourself in that position you must ask yourself, what did I do to chase them all away?
So lets forget the, "ho hum there must not have been any decent candidates" argument and turn instead to the "well it's ok because we promoted women last year" line. If every single year the majority of the people you promote to your partnership are not women you are simply failing to seriously address the staggering gender gap in your current partnership. At the current rate of promotion women will achieve gender parity in another two centuries. When my great-great grandchildren are dead.
I am not willing to trust that someday eventually in someone else's lifetime this will work itself out. Are you?