Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2013

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Paik, Anthony

First Committee Member

Noonan, Mary C.

Second Committee Member

Glanville, Jennifer L.


The success of firm lawyers depends largely upon their ability to develop a clientele. Naturally, access to potential clients and the relationships between lawyers and their clients and potential clients are exceedingly important for client development. Various factors likely play into relationships between lawyers and business leaders, two important factors being homophily and in-group preferences. Both homophily and in-group preferences mechanisms would predict that law firms are more likely to assign clients to associates who bear certain similarities to those clients. Accordingly, associates who are more similar to the business community they serve are more likely to be assigned clients and awarded responsibility. In this way, a lawyers' success depends in part on the composition of the business community in which they operate. In making partnership decisions, law firms value associates' aptitude for client relations, thus incorporating these effects into promotion evaluations. This study asks the question: at the state level, to what extent does the success of female-owned businesses correlate to the success of female lawyers who work at law firms? Using a national survey of lawyers seven years after admission to the bar, logistic regression demonstrates that it is not the percentage of businesses in a state that are female-owned that influences the likelihood of making partner for female associates. Rather, the results show that the percentage of sales generated by female-owned businesses is the influential variable: as women generate a greater percent of a state's economic activity, female lawyers are in turn more likely to achieve the status of partner.


female entrepreneurism, female lawyers, homophily, interorganizational effects, law firm partnership, resource dependency


v, 44 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 42-44).


Copyright 2013 Gina M. Messamer

Included in

Sociology Commons