More female attorneys have become partners in Maryland law firms than a decade ago, but firms are still hiring twice as many men as women, according to a survey conducted in the state.

The National Conference of Women's Bar Associations said 17 of the 27 law firms queried responded to the survey, which focused on firms with at least 15 lawyers.

The survey showed 5.4 percent of the partners at the 17 firms were women, compared with less than one percent in 1975. There were 27 female partners and 471 male partners in the 17 firms, the study said. Female associates at those firms made up 32.9 percent -- 178 women, compared with 362 male lawyers.

During the past five years the same firms hired twice as many men as women lawyers -- 398 men and 192 women. The study said 43 percent of the Maryland law school graduates in the last five years were women.

The study focused on issues raised in a recent Supreme Court decision that said law firms could not discriminate in promoting associates to partners, who make policies and share in the profits of a firm. A firm usually considers a lawyer for partnership after five years of employment.