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AND ARE BIGLAW’S WOMEN STILL STUCK IN THE MIDDLE?
NEW YORK (June 17, 2009) – LawFuel.com – The June Am Law 200 issue of Incisive Media’s The American Lawyer profiles Washington, D.C.’s Second Hundred law firms who are looking to get their share of business growth, fueled by the new administration’s aggressive positions in areas such as energy, antitrust enforcement and expansion of broadband access. The magazine also details how Jamie Pardigao, once Adams and Reese’s top billing partner, bilked the firm and its gaming clients of more than $20 million, making him what the U.S. attorney prosecuting the case called “a poster boy for all corrupt attorneys.” The June issue also features the findings of The American Lawyer’s first “Women in Law Firms” study, revealing the progress that the Am Law 200’s law firms have — and haven’t — made in leveling the playing field for advancement by women. For these stories and more, visit www.americanlawyer.com.
In “The Business of Hope,” reporter Drew Combs surveys the prospects for Washington’s native Second Hundred firms, many of whom have carved out powerful niche practices (communications regulation at Wiley Rein, white-collar defense at Williams & Connolly, for instance, and media work at Dow Lohnes). While, in the short run, the work emanating from Washington is unlikely to spur mass hiring — or double-digit gains in profits — new legislation like the $787 billion federal stimulus package that Obama signed in February, will produce solid, if unspectacular, growth for these players and bring some light to the industry’s dark economic outlook.
“The Boy Wonder,” by Douglas McCollam brings readers the story behind Pardigao’s rise and fall, a tale that ended last fall when he pled guilty to 30 counts of bank fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion and agreed to pay back about $23.5 million in restitution. Perdigao was a study in contradictions. Though often described as a “nice guy,” “personable,” and “considerate,” he was a hard-driving attorney who routinely billed 3,000 hours a year. Despite a $300,000 partner’s salary, he was a notorious miser, wearing rumpled suits, scuffed shoes and driving a beat-up Mitsubishi sedan. Although his elaborate fraudulent billing schemes and dummy corporations went undetected by the firm or its clients for years, he spent virtually none of the money he stole. And, as for what his ultimate plans were for the money, or why exactly he stole it, Perdigao has yet to offer a clue.
“Stuck in the Middle,” by Emily Barker reveals that the mean proportion of women at large firms has remained close to one-third. While the ranks of female partners have grown steadily, women still account, on average, for fewer than one in five big-firm partners and the greatest numbers of female lawyers remain concentrated at the associate level. But despite the laggards, some firms — such as Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; and Ropes & Gray — are nearing the 50 percent mark in their overall percentage of women lawyers. Even better, at a few other large firms, including Littler Mendelson, Ice Miller, Arent Fox, and Epstein Becker & Green, women make up at least a quarter of the partnership. Finally, while “diversity” often refers to both racial and gender makeup, and it’s tempting to think that one accompanies the other, the statistics show that minorities and women are not necessarily progressing in tandem at the nation’s largest firms.
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