Why Are So Many Women Reaching the Top of Big Law Firms?

For many years now, my former law school classmates and I have maintained a long-standing tradition: to meet at least once every three months for dinner, where we catch up on our lives, our challenges, our success stories, our disappointments, our hairdos--whatever! This tradition has grown in my world to include friends of friends, former colleagues, even husbands and boyfriends (although they are safely exempt from the hairdo part of the conversation). It has become, shall we say, a gathering of sorts, where we check our legal selves at the door and enter the gathering as the people we once were before we became big-firm attorneys.

On a recent Wednesday night, such a gathering took place. It began like any other Wednesday night. However, it did not include law school classmates this time. Instead, it included new women friends and friends of friends. We had gathered to enjoy mudslides and chicken fingers and spend a few hours talking about anything but business. Coincidentally enough, the majority of those present that night, four women out of six women in all, had just received (or were scheduled to receive) promotions: one to head counsel in a top publishing house; one to director/partner at a high-profile public interest firm; one to partnership at a top L.A. law firm; and one was up for counsel at a top New York firm, with a fast track to partnership next year. I didn't realize it at the time, but an explosive and interesting mix had sat down to enjoy dinner together.