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Two notes from a study of Fortune 1000 women general counsel

A study of women who lead the legal teams at 92 companies on the Fortune 1000 list presents the data in every imaginable way. Two points from the Diversity & The Bar, July/Aug. 2008 at 30, particularly caught my eye: general counsel who were promoted and the positions new general counsel come from.

Four general counsel on the previous year’s list – Angela Braly of WellPoint, Michelle Goolsby of Dean Foods, Michelle Halasz of CarMax, and Laurene Horiszny of BorgWarner – accepted new positions outside of the law department in their companies (See my post of March 24, 2007: promoted general counsel with 8 references); and May 26, 2007: six references cited.). I do not know whether the likelihood of a female general counsel being promoted is greater than a male general counsel.

The study also reports that 20 new women general counsel appeared among the Fortune 501-1000 group. Setting aside three who were in their position when their company cracked the list, of the remaining 17, ten rose from the ranks of their law department and four joined from another company’s law department. The sample is small but if 14 out of 17 came from a law department, presumably the other three came from a law firm. I wish we knew more about the ratio of law department and law firm newly-promoted general counsel and whether gender makes a difference.

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