White & Case has made a long-term commitment to retaining and advancing women at the Firm through our multifaceted Global Women’s Initiative.
Over the past nine years, we have embraced a comprehensive approach aimed at increasing the number of women leaders at the Firm. Based on expert-identified best practices, we employ several strategies. For example, annual business plans must include data on the breakdown by gender and the percentage of partner candidates who are women. Giving the exercise teeth, leaders are held accountable for retaining and promoting women.
In addition, we provide a sponsorship program that matches junior women lawyers with senior partners, offering them access to Firm leaders. This enhances retention and increases our ranks of strong women partnership candidates. We also invest heavily in a market-leading global coaching program for women approaching partner level. The program ensures early training and support for all women, not just those immediately identified as potential high performers. And women partners receive executive coaching and external development opportunities through leadership programs affiliated with Harvard and Cambridge universities.
As a result of efforts like these, we are moving the needle on gender diversity and inclusion. Since 2010, the proportion of women partners in the Firm has grown from 8 percent to 20 percent with the 2018 class of promotions effective January 1, 2019. Two-thirds of our global practice groups have increased the number of senior associate women (fifth year and above) an average of 5 percent in the last five years. In 2018, 43.4 percent of our senior associates were women, compared to an average of 38.9 percent in the prior three-year period. As the numbers show, our pipeline of women associates being considered for partner continues to increase, and we are retaining women identified as top candidates for advancement.
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