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The larger the department, the fewer women report to the general counsel

Diversity & The Bar, Jan./Feb. 2012 at 47, provides data from 390 companies regarding the percentage of men and women lawyers who are direct reports to the general counsel. Those companies had 2,330 direct reports. (By the way, that works out to almost exactly six direct reports per general counsel.) Overall, the gender split among those direct reports was 56% men and 44% women.

The pattern that stuck out for me, however, was that with increasing size of legal departments the percentage of women who were direct reports shrank steadily. For law departments of 2-to-5 total attorneys the split was 41% man to 59% women. With 6-to-10 lawyers the percentages were almost even and that pattern of shifting toward male reports continued up through law departments with more than 75 total attorneys, where the ratio was 68% to 32%.

Approximately 62% of the responding legal department employed 10 or fewer attorneys. Some of this pattern might result from newer and smaller companies having a younger attorney mix. Larger, older companies still have throwback ratios.

This pattern, fewer women the larger the department, is mirrored by the general counsel (Table 2 in the report, not included in the article). Among solo GCs, 53% are women and 47% men; that ratio reverses with 2-to-5 lawyers and keeps shifting toward men, until with more than 75 lawyers in the department, men hold the top lawyer position in 86% of the companies.

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