While large law firms make strides in increasing gender diversity amongst their ranks, a recent study found that women still lag significantly behind their male counterparts in certain key Big Law practice areas.
The study by ALM Intelligence (ALI) titled “ Where Do We Go From Here? Big Law’s Struggle With Recruiting and Retaining Female Talent” found that among women working at Am Law 200 firms, niche practice groups, such as education, family law, health care, immigration and labor and employment were those with the greatest proportion of women.
Other areas in Big Law like banking, corporate and litigation had the lowest number of female lawyers, according to the study. The ALI analysis also found that female talent is underrepresented in states with large law school talents pools.
“I think attorneys go into those niches practices perhaps because they believe there will be more flexibility in their hours,” said Jacquelyn Knight, a legal recruiter at Major, Lindsey & Africa in New York. “[And] they have more control over the hours unlike a M&A or a finance deal that has to be worked on all weekend because [of] a deal."