MCCA Survey: Women General Counsel At Fortune 500 Companies Reaches New High

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 - 11:16

More women served as general counsel at Fortune 500 companies in 2011 than ever before, according to a new survey by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA). Women now hold the top legal spot at 21 percent of Fortune 500 companies.

MCCA’s annual Survey of Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 Women and Minority General Counsel shows 108 women serving as general counsel in 2011, up seven from the previous year. Other survey highlights include:

  • The number of women general counsel has accelerated in recent years, with 23 added since 2009.
  • Top female legal officers are increasingly diverse. About 16 percent of the 2011 group identified themselves as minorities, the most diverse in the survey’s history. They included 90 whites/Caucasians, 11 African Americans, four Hispanics, two Asian/Pacific Islanders, and one of Middle Eastern origin.
  • Although women general counsel are based at Fortune 500 companies across the country, six states comprised 50 percent of the list: California with 12 companies, New York with 11, Texas with ten, Illinois with eight, and New Jersey and Virginia each with seven.
  • Among Fortune 1000 companies (those ranked 501 to 1000 in revenue), there were 78 women general counsel, a decrease of four since 2011. (This was caused by six companies leaving the Fortune 1000 to join the Fortune 500.) The number of general counsel women of color at these companies remained steady at five.

“The representation of women general counsel at Fortune 500 companies has grown steadily since MCCA began tracking this information in 1999,” said Joseph K. West, MCCA president and CEO. “We see this trend continuing as more companies recognize the outstanding legal and leadership skills of these professional women.”

The full Survey of Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 Women and Minority General Counsel and accompanying analysis will appear in the September/October 2012 issue of Diversity & the Bar, MCCA’s bi-monthly publication, and will be available on the MCCA website, www.mcca.com.