Judy’s Comments

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Women Need to Improve "Rainmaking" Skills

nawl-logo-300x300“Rainmaking” is a must-have skill for any professional woman (not just lawyers) motivated to move up the ladder.

The National Association of Women Lawyers®(NAWL®) and the NAWL Foundation®  reported the results of the fourth annual National Survey on the Status of Women in Law Firms (“Survey”).  Results likely mirror those in most career paths for women.

The survey showed women play a surprisingly small role in the highest levels of law firm leadership.

Only about 6% of law firms have women managing partners. Women lawyers account for fewer than 16% of equity partners

“Rainmaking” was a major focus of the 2009 Survey. The ability to “make rain” – bring in substantial business to a firm – is well known to affect the prospects of a successful career in private practice. The role of women as major rainmakers is surprisingly weak. Almost half the firms – 46% – count no women at all in their top 10 rainmakers. The fact that women do not play dominant or even substantial roles in law firm rainmaking also impacts their prospects for leadership and compensation.

“A lawyer’s ability to generate business is the single most determinative factor in whether a lawyer will become an equity partner.”  For reasons that we still do not fully understand, however, women have not achieved the same levels of rainmaking as their male counterparts.

The 2009 NAWL Survey collected hard data on the extent to which women play major rainmaking roles in large firms.

The results are astounding. Almost half of large firms in the US (46%) have no women at all among their top ten rainmakers. Another third (32%) of large firms have only one woman among the top ten rainmakers in the firm. Some 15% of firms have two women among the top ten rainmakers, and the remaining small number of firms (6%) had three or four women rainmakers in their top ten.

Garden State Woman is working to develop a program to help New Jersey professional women sharpen their “rainmaking” abilities. Stay tuned and contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for additional information.

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