Gender analytics: using litigation data to evaluate law firm diversity

    By: Clair Fuller on Sep 11, 2017

    Michael Sander, Tara Klamrowski, and Rachel Sander write, "More women are entering the legal profession than ever —women now make up about half of all law students and 36% of all licensed attorneys— but these ratios are not reflected at the highest levels of firm positions. Judges anecdotally report that women rarely act as lead counsel in litigation, and the percentage of female partners at firms hovers around 22%.

    Corporate clients are aware of the gender imbalance and actively seek out firms that reflect their own commitment to gender diversity. Clients now regularly request firm diversity statistics as part of law firm pitches, putting pressure on firms to support female attorneys at the highest ranks.

    Law firms typically measure diversity by tracking headcount; the number of male and female associates and partners in their ranks. These metrics can ignore the often more meaningful metric of how often female attorneys actually appear in court-room litigation.

    Modern legal analytics can play an important role in increasing transparency in law firm gender diversity. Traditional legal analytics show how often parties or law firms win cases, or the likelihood of winning legal relief in front of a particular judge. However, they can also be used to rank and analyze more general litigation trends, including gender diversity.

    To identify firms with the most balanced male-female attorney ratio, Docket Alarm scours the litigation record, looking at the names of attorneys and their law firm. The gender of each attorney in a case is identified based on the attorney’s first name and other factors.

    The result is that we can now measure firm gender diversity based on attorneys actually staffed on cases, i.e., those that most substantively participate in litigation, not just by firm head-count."

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    Released: September 11, 2017, 10:17 am | Updated: September 11, 2017, 10:18 am
    Keywords: NAWL News


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