American Bar Association 

Despite comprising half of all law school graduates, women make up only one quarter of the attorneys appearing before New York courts, according to a recent report titled “If Not Now, When? Achieving Equality for Women Attorneys in the Courtroom and in ADR.” The report, issued by the Commercial & Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association, examined the gender of attorneys appearing in court before federal and state judges at various levels. Based on responses to 2,800 questionnaires completed by judges, the report found that women continue to be overwhelmingly underrepresented in the courtroom—especially in the civil and complex litigation space. In particular, the report observed that:

  • Women made up approximately 25% of all attorneys and lead attorneys appearing in court;
  • Women made up less than 20% of civil litigators appearing in court;
  • Women made up less than 20% of litigators in cases involving 5 or more parties.

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