Kim Koopersmith Featured in Washington Post Article on Women Leading Law Firms

Kim Koopersmith, who, in April, became the first female chairperson of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, was quoted extensively for the Washington Post article “Women in charge of law firms a rarity,” which discussed the promotion pyramid that finds women at 46 percent of associates but only 4 percent of law firm leaders.

Koopersmith noted the fact that her gender was discussed more outside Akin Gump than within the firm, saying “I was actually somewhat surprised it was so much about, ‘You’re the first woman,’ because the truth was, at my firm, that wasn’t really what people were thinking about. The discussion on who’d be the next chair had very little to do with the fact that I was a woman. It was about skills and strategy and direction...It’ll be great when a woman elected to run a large law firm is not newsworthy.”

Regarding the current number of women equity partners at the nation’s 200 largest law firms, she said, “I think we have to be able to do better than what we have been doing. Having 16 to 17 percent women partners seems to me to be a level that is just not appropriate.”

Koopersmith does see, however, more leadership opportunities for women: “I do think women are increasingly playing roles in practice management and in firmwide opportunities. And I believe that as a result of that, there are going to be more women in leadership roles.”