Ropes & Gray has long been at the forefront of recruiting, retaining and advancing the careers of women in the law. Today, 45 percent of our lawyers are women and that percentage continues to grow. Women comprise nearly 30 percent of the partnership—well above industry average of 19 percent—and hold significant leadership positions in the firm, serving as department heads, practice group leaders and policy committee members. In 2017, Ropes & Gray named Julie H. Jones as its next chair, marking the first time in the firm’s more than 150-year history that a woman will hold the top leadership position.
At a time when many law firms struggle to close the gender gap, Ropes & Gray has been recognized as a leading firm for advancing gender equity. For two years in a row, Law360 named Ropes & Gray to its top ten list of “Best Law Firms for Female Attorneys” as well as its “Ceiling Smashers” list of law firms with the highest percentage of women equity partners. The Chambers Women in Law Awards has honored Ropes & Gray for having the industry’s “Best Mentoring Program” and as “Law Firm of the Year in Promoting Flexible Work Environments and Innovative Programs for Mothers.” Since 2010, the firm has consistently been recognized as a top firm for diversity for women by the Vault survey of the 150 most prestigious law firms in the country.
Some of our women partners, together
at an annual partners event.
Ropes & Gray’s commitment to its female lawyers goes well beyond the statistics. In addition to an active diversity committee, which addresses policy issues, the firm offers educational, professional development and networking opportunities through its Women’s Forum. Established in 1996, the Women’s Forum fosters professional growth through programs that give female lawyers access to firm and industry leaders and other experts.
The Women’s Forum organizes events at which clients and guest speakers are invited to address a number of key career topics, including networking, marketing, mentoring, leadership training and business development. In addition, the Women’s Forum hosts formal and informal social events to provide women lawyers with the opportunity to build relationships and develop the essential skills for a successful legal career.
The Women’s Forum also promotes business and professional development opportunities through the Joan D. Fuller Development Grant, which helps women attorneys cultivate relationships with colleagues, clients and prospective clients. Joan D. Fuller (1928-2018), a partner in the private client group, joined Ropes & Gray in 1962 and became the firm’s first female partner in 1973. Joan was a graduate of Harvard Law School, entering in 1951 as a member of the second class to admit women.