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Women attorneys make up 47% of Bar committee appointments

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Women attorneys make up 47% of Bar committee appointments

52% of leadership positions are now held by women lawyers

The trend of pursuing diversity in making appointments to Bar committees and leadership positions on those committees is continuing with incoming Bar President Michelle Suskauer.

Michelle Suskauer Suskauer recently completed appointments to Bar committees for the 2018-19 Bar year and she matched the figures from her predecessor, outgoing President Michael Higer: 47 percent of her appointments are women and 53 percent are men.

“Michael Higer and I both made a very big push throughout this past year in encouraging everyone to apply for committee positions,” Suskauer said. “I also encouraged voluntary bars and specialty bars to submit names to me.”

She thanked everyone who applied, even if they weren’t appointed, and said it was important that a wide range of lawyers, including those from different regions and practice areas, were in the pool.

“I wanted to do my best to harness the tremendous amount of talent we have all over the state in our membership,” Suskauer said. “It takes time and care. I wish I could have appointed everyone who applied; we just didn’t have the spots.”

Forty-two percent of committee applicants this year were women and 58 percent were men, a slight overrepresentation of women compared to the overall Bar membership where women make up 38 percent of the membership.

In leadership posts, women hold 52 percent (or 98 total) of the chair or vice chair positions on Bar committees while men have 48 percent (or 89) of those spots.

The appointments continue a trend of diversifying Bar committee appointments, particularly for women:

• In 2011-12, of 2,128 committee members, 37 percent were women.

• In 2012-13, 38 percent of committee members were women.

• In 2013-14, 42 percent of committee members were women.

• In 2014-15, 44 percent of committee members were women.

• In 2015-16, 48 percent of committee members were women.

While men continue to make up 62 percent of the Bar’s membership, that is continuing to change as about half of law school students are women. Overall in 2017, 49 percent of new Bar members were women and 51 percent were men.

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