Gender, Credentials and M&A

54 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2022 Last revised: 8 Jun 2023

See all articles by Tracey E. George

Tracey E. George

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Albert Yoon

University of Toronto Faculty of Law

Mitu Gulati

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: January 17, 2022

Abstract

Since the 1990s, women have made up roughly half of law school classes. Attrition between entry to law firms and partnership results in women comprising 20 and 25 percent of partners. But who makes it to the top of the partnership? Is there yet more gendered attrition? Constructing a unique dataset of publicly-filed Mergers and Acquisitions deals and detailed biographical information of lawyers in this field, we find that women make up fewer than 10 percent of deal leaders. When we look at the factors that determine who becomes a deal leader we find that credentials – both educational and professional – matter. But they matter more for women. And one credential – attending a top law school – seems to matter a lot. Using conversations with senior lawyers, we try to get at some answers for why.

Keywords: gender gap, discrimination, law firm, M&A, tournament

JEL Classification: J15, J16, J71, K40

Suggested Citation

George, Tracey E. and Yoon, Albert and Gulati, Mitu, Gender, Credentials and M&A (January 17, 2022). Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2022-10, Virginia Law and Economics Research Paper No. 2022-18, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4010301 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4010301

Tracey E. George

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

Albert Yoon (Contact Author)

University of Toronto Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada

Mitu Gulati

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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