Law.com’s family of publications, including the New York Law Journal and Texas Lawyer, recently profiled Culhane Meadows and other women-owned law firms in an article about the growth of female-led law firms despite the lingering gender disparity within the legal profession. Here is a relevant excerpt:
Work-life balance is often pegged as the reason women leave traditional law firms. But for the growing number of women establishing their own firms, their departure is often rooted more deeply in gender inequality in the profession than in raising children or having more free time.
By founding their own firms, women are crafting new game rules that provide for fair compensation, equal promotions, full inclusion and better career development opportunities.
In 2013 when Kelly Rittenberry Culhane of Dallas co-founded Culhane Meadows Haughian & Walsh, a virtual firm with lawyers across the country, she and her co-founders wanted a different way to practice that was fully inclusive regardless of gender, background or race. It wasn’t woman-owned in the beginning, but now it’s earned a certification as a Woman Business Enterprise, as well as membership in NAMWOLF.
Today, 40 percent of the 57 partners are women, Culhane said. Of the five equity partners, three are women—which comes to 60 percent.
Culhane said that she and her co-founders have crafted a culture at Culhane Meadows that allows partners to have life outside of the law firm. Lawyers are encouraged to take the time they need for a baby’s birth, a death in the family, a sick child or simply to attend a kid’s basketball game, she said. Another perk for partners—women and men—is that the compensation structure is set by contract, transparent and the same for everyone. Partners keep at least 80 percent of the money they collect.
“We have a more inviting culture to women because women are the ones who traditionally had to put their lives on hold either to follow their husbands or to have children,” said Culhane, who was previously an associate at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.
Download and read the full article HERE.