"Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks." — Warren Buffett

Women comprise 47 percent of law students and 44 percent of associates in law firms, but just 20 percent of law firm partners. While there is a rich pipeline of women available to advance in law firms, fewer than half actually ascend to partnership.

It is a tremendous gap, one that the National Association of Women Lawyers sought to close. In 2006, NAWL proposed a challenge to increase the number of women equity partners, women general counsel and women tenured law professors to at least 30 percent by 2015.

They sought to address the "15/50/15" problem — that for more than 15 years, women were 50 percent of law school graduates but only 15 percent of law firm partners and chief legal officers. Despite a focused effort, 10 years later, women have only advanced from 15 percent to 20 percent of partners. At this pace, it might be 2036 before women partners reach the stated goal of 30 percent.

"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading." — Lao Tzu

What do we do when current initiatives are simply not producing significant results? When so-called best practices are not advancing women in law firms? When it is a rarity for women partners to reside at the top of the compensation scale in law firms or make up a significant number of equity partners? When women partners are silently disappearing from firms? We reassess everything we’ve done in the past, toss out our old playbook and try a few boat-rocking strategies.

We stop patching leaks and we build a better boat.