Emily Parker Interviewed in Texas Lawyer on Women in Large Firms

“Leading Ladies: More Women Are Running Large Law”

Like Williamson, Emily Parker began her legal career with the firm she now leads. It was 1973.

“I was a 23-year-old kid,” she said. “There were no female lawyers (at the firm), which was not unusual at that time.”

Dallas-based Thompson & Knight has 274 lawyers, 241 in Texas. It has the second-highest percentage, 24.1 percent, of women partners among the large firms. Parker has been the firm’s managing partner since February 2012. In 1973 she was concerned that law firms would have “a fraternity-like atmosphere. But I would describe Thompson & Knight as a very professional, businesslike place where I was very comfortable personally.”

She said the firm is made up of “real lawyers who have real lives. We do value that everyone, male or female, has family commitments, community commitments and religious commitments with demands on their time.”

What are now the firm’s formal policies regarding pregnancy or flextime evolved as the firm grew, she said.

“Usually when we were faced with an issue, we would accommodate and adopt a treatment for that issue and then years later … we would formally write up the policy. As the first woman, I was consulted and involved in that evolution.”