In the last three and a half decades, the legal profession has undergone a dramatic transformation in the gender composition of its members. During that time, the number of women applying to law school and entering the profession has gone from a few gallant pioneers to roughly equal representation with that of men. Between 1970 and 2000, the proportion of first-year law students who were female climbed from 8% to 49%. Because the existing bar consisted primarily of male lawyers, the percent of women in the legal profession changed more slowly, but still rose dramatically. Women, as a percent of all practicing lawyers, have risen from 3% in 1970 to 27% in 2000, while the percent of lawyers who are men has made a corresponding decline. In just the thirty years from 1970 to 2000, the number of women in the legal profession increased from fewer than 10,000, to almost 300,000, marking a steady growth rate of 12% a year. Over the same period, the number of male lawyers has increased from approximately 290,000 to 780,000, for an annual growth rate of just 3.3% per year.
Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt, Marc S. Galanter, Kaushik Mukhopadhaya & Kathleen E. Hull,
Men and Women of the Bar: The Impact of Gender on Legal Careers,
Mich. J. Gender & L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjgl/vol16/iss1/2