Achieving gender equality is one of the law profession’s major issues and so when a major firm – particularly one as gold-plated as Cravath Swaine & Moore – announce that their latest partner intake not only comprises mainly women, but only women, then it’s three cheers for them.
It isn’t the first time Cravath has had a diverse partnership intake as they had another all-women class in 2016 and thus the firm is clearly demonstrating its desire to right the ledger on this front.
It is also a move that several Big Law firms have attempted, although the success has been somewhat uneven.
Twenty three percent of Cravath’s partners are currently women, but that figure is trending closer to the much-vaunted 50/50 with two-thirds of the last two partner intakes being women.
Faiza Saeed in 2016 became the firm’s presiding partner – the first female in that leadership post in the history of Cravaths, which will next year celebrate its bicentennial.
- Lauren Roberta Kennedy is a graduate of Columbia Law School. She practices in the firm’s litigation Department, with a focuses on general commercial litigation matters
- Sasha A. Rosenthal-Larrea also got her J.D. from Columbia Law School. She’s a corporate lawyer with a speciality in capital markets matters.
- Allison M. Wein went to Northwestern University School of Law. Her practice is in the corporate department with a focus on mergers and acquisitions.
And the firm’s presiding partner, Faiza Saeed (the first woman to lead Cravath, had a statement in support of the firms newest members:
All-female partner classes are noteworthy as Big Law continues its push to integrate women lawyers into top earning and decision-making spots, often with mixed success.
Cravath’s elite reputation also gives the promotions extra weight. The firm, which has offices in New York and London, has topped the Vault 100 most prestigious law firm rankings for three years running.
In 2016, Cravath also advancedthree women and no men to partner. The promotions included two litigators and one tax lawyer.
Cravath has taken other steps in recent years to advance its women lawyers.
On its Women’s Initiative web page, the firm notes that “we have remained committed to ensuring that women are represented and supported at all levels of the Firm.”
Cravath ‘Womens Initiative’ Page
In 1971, Cravath became one of the first “Wall Street” law firms to elect a woman partner. Since that time, we have remained committed to ensuring that women are represented and supported at all levels of the Firm. Currently, our Presiding Partner, Managing Partner of our Litigation Department and the Chair of our Antitrust practice are all women.
The firm’s initiative has included women’s recruiting receptions, and dinners at partners homes for mid-level associates, the firm says.
Achieving gender equality is a long road for most firms. Seeing an establishment firm as entrenched in matter Big Law like Cravaths take substantial steps towards the goal has got to be a win for women . . it’s just that there remains a long way to go.