Magazine article Working Mother

Ladies, Show Me the Money

Magazine article Working Mother

Ladies, Show Me the Money

Article excerpt

As we celebrate the 50 Best Law Firms for Women and applaud their efforts, I just can't take my eyes off the elephant in the room. Among the ranks of the most highly compensated lawyers, there are few women and even fewer women of color. In the 200 largest U.S. firms, only 4 percent of managing partners and 17 percent of equity part ners are women, according to the National Association of Women Lawyers.

The numbers might be improving (slowly), but it's still hard to explain the dearth of women at the top. Out of the gate, 48 percent of law school grads are women. They certainly start out as eager to find success and partnerships as their male counterparts: Female students hold 54 percent of leadership positions in law-review journals and are 49 percent of law-review editors-in-chief, according to a report from Ms. JD and New York Law School.

Why does the law pyramid narrow so severely? Let's follow the money. During my 30 years in financial services, where the partner ranks were similarly male, I saw that those in the highest echelons were the rainmakers who won deals and generated revenue. They often weren't the best bankers (or leaders, for that matter); I can attest to the fact that women are more consultative, more empathetic, better risk managers and better at client retention and getting referral business.

I spent 21 years at Merrill Lynch, where I was recognized as one of the top wealth advisers and branch managers before building a successful multicultural business-development unit and becoming global head of diversity and inclusion. …

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