Drinker Biddle Reaches Gender Parity in Leadership

Drinker Biddle now has an equal number of men and women on its senior leadership body, after it elected seven new partners to its managing partners committee.

Its newly elected managing partners are Bonnie A. Barnett, Mary Devlin Capizzi, Edward A. Gramigna, Sandra D. Grannum, Lisa S. Presser, F. Douglas Raymond and John G. Smith, the Philadelphia-based firm announced Tuesday.

Drinker Biddle’s managing partners, who serve as a board of directors for the firm, are elected by the partnership and serve four year terms. Terms are staggered so an election is held every two years. Barnett, Presser, and Raymond have previously served on the committee. Capizzi was re-elected.

Gramigna, a tax lawyer and former partner in charge of the Florham Park, N.J., office; Grannum, co-chair of the firm’s commercial litigation team; and Smith, former co-chair of the intellectual property group; will all be serving as managing partners for the first time. Barnett, who chaired Drinker Biddle’s environment and energy group for more than 20 years, will be serving her fourth term as managing partner.

With half of its leadership body women, Drinker Biddle is far above industry average.

“We are pleased to see the continued increase in the percentage of women appointed and elected to senior leadership positions, and appreciate the willingness of our colleagues to contribute time and effort to the management of the firm,” Andrew C. Kassner, the firm’s Chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

The newly elected managing partners join existing members Kasser, Daniel J. Collins, John J. D’Andrea, Joshua B. Deringer, Cheryl D. Orr, and Kimberly K. Rubel.

Also on Tuesday, Drinker Biddle’s managing partners appointed Judith E. Reich, co-chair of the firm’s financial services industry group, and commercial litigator William M. Connolly as executive partners. They will join the firm’s executive management team responsible for day-to-day firm management. Women now make up half of that four-person team, as well. It also includes Kassner and chief operating officer Jane C. Koehl, according to the firm.

In their new roles, Reich will responsible for overseeing the firm’s business and regulatory policies and Connolly will be responsible for the firm’s litigation practices.

Given the variations in law firm leadership structures, it’s hard to measure the precise representation of women in leadership across Big Law. But it is clear that women remain underrepresented in the top ranks of the legal profession.

According to the National Association of Women Lawyers’s 2017 annual survey report, the average firm has 12 people on its highest level governance committee; on average, three were women.

The average governance committee only has one attorney of color and less than one LGBT person or person with a disability, according to NAWL.

Law firm compensation committees have a similar makeup, with women making up an average of 3 of 12 members, NAWL found. Only 18 percent of firms reported having a woman among their firm-wide managing partners.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Russell-Kraft in New York at srussellkraft@gmail.com.

To contact the editors on this story: Casey Sullivan in New York at csullivan@bloomberglaw.com and Nicholas Datlowe in Arlington at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com.