The Women of CABA

The Women of CABA – Successful Leadership in a Male-Dominated Profession

CABA Briefs Spring 2012

Men overwhelmingly occupy the most prestigious, influential, and lucrative positions in law firms. Nationally, women represent only 15 percent of equity partners at the two-hundred largest law firms, according to an annual survey on the status of women in law firms conducted by the National Association of Women Lawyers. Women are also underrepresented in the leadership of these firms. In fact, the survey found that 11 percent of the firms surveyed do not have any women on their highest governing committee, and 35 percent have only one. There appears to have been little, if any, gains in the status of women in the largest firms over the past twenty years.

Generally, women lawyers in Florida appear to be gaining status at a more encouraging rate than their “BigLaw” counterparts. The Florida Bar’s Annual Membership Opinion Survey, which was released in January 2012, reveals that 56 percent of Florida’s male attorneys are either sole practitioners, partner/shareholders, or managing partners, compared to 34 percent of female attorneys. The Florida Bar’s survey also found that 21 percent of female attorneys are employed in local, state, or federal government practice positions, as compared to 10 percent of male attorneys and that 28 percent of women in Florida identified themselves as associates, as opposed to only 14 percent of the men surveyed.

In stark contrast to the underrepresentation of women in “BigLaw” and law practice partnership and management in Florida, the Cuban American Bar Association has a proud history of elevating women to leadership positions since it was founded in 1974. Currently, 64 percent of the members on the board of directors are women. The immediate past-president, president, president-elect, secretary, and treasurer are all women. Five of our past-presidents were women, and they have moved forward to occupy new, interesting, and prestigious roles in the community.